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Issue 30, Autumn 2021

In this edition:

TRA celebrates 40th birthday

Did you know? Twins Research Australia is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and we’re pleased to unwrap a special logo for the occasion! Find out about the people, events and discoveries that shaped our history here. These achievements were only made possible with the incredible support of our members, researchers, team and partners – past and present. Our heartfelt thanks go to each and every one.

What makes someone more resilient or vulnerable to mental health challenges?

A new Australia-wide online study is seeking to answer this question with the help of twins aged 18-45. Mental illnesses affect 1 in 5 Australians and impact people’s lives in various ways. This world-first study is seeking to understand the genetic and environmental factors that influence someone’s risk and resilience for mental illness and, in turn, to contribute to more effective diagnosis and treatment. Participants go into a prize draw to win one of 100 32GB iPads worth $499 each. Additionally, participants will receive a bonus payment of $25 each ($50 total) if both twin siblings complete the questionnaire. Learn more

Calling all twins aged 18-45 – are your contact details up-to-date?

With the launch of our major new mental health study, we wish to ensure every eligible twin aged 18-45 receives an invite and has a chance to participate in this important research to improve mental health diagnosis and treatment. And to go in the draw for some great prizes! But we understand these are pretty busy years of your life and it can be easy to lose touch.

We recently emailed twins and parents of twins in the 18-45 year age group, where we were missing email addresses for co-twins or twin children, asking for help in getting back in touch with them. Please check both your inbox and junk/spam folders for this email, or update contact details at this link here. We were delighted when former winner of the renovation TV show The Block, Alisa Fraser (above left), reached out to us when she realised her twin sister, Lysandra, wasn’t receiving TRA emails and her contact details were out of date. Alisa and Lysandra, now running a busy interior design business and a personal care range together, are both registered with their latest details and looking forward to staying up to date with TRA events, news and new studies.

Update on TRA’s COVID-19 research

We can’t believe it’s 12 months since we announced our move to mainly online studies last year as Australia entered its first lockdown with the emerging coronavirus threat. Our members responded magnificently, not only supporting our rapidly mobilised COVID-19 studies but enabling other important studies to continue throughout the year. Last year saw a record 10,184 individuals and 7,222 families involved in our studies - and we thank you most sincerely. This year we are planning further research into the longer-term effects of the pandemic on Australian families. We’ll share the timing of these new studies when available and we hope you can join us once again.

Identical twins not nearly as identical as previously thought

Identical twins form from the same egg and receive the same genetic material from their parents — but that doesn't mean they're genetically identical by the time they're born. That's because so-called identical twins pick up genetic mutations in the womb, as their cells weave new strands of DNA and then split into more and more cells. On average, pairs of twins have genomes that differ by an average of 5.2 mutations that occur early in development, according to a new study. Learn more

Twins contribute to world-first mammogram measures of breast cancer

TRA researchers and twin members have contributed to landmark research into world-first techniques for predicting breast cancer risk from mammograms. These could revolutionise breast screening by allowing it to be tailored to women at minimal extra cost. Discover more

Congratulations to the iPad twin winners of our decision making study

Congratulations to lucky twins, Jess and Erin (above), who won an iPad each from the draw of participants in the study, Influences on Decision Making. Even though the twins live in different states they were able to complete the study individually online. Jess from Victoria says she found the study very engaging, intricate and in-depth. "It was very different to other online surveys I’d done before and I enjoyed feeling like I learned a bit about my own decision making that I hadn’t considered before." Jess and Erin (from NSW) are using their new iPads to stay better organised, reading, researching, working, sharing photos and to take with them when they travel.

Please note that TRA members are asked whether they would like to be identified by name and/or supply a photo should they be a prize-draw winner. TRA advises that study participants are under no obligation to do so, and their choice does not exclude them from taking part or the chance to win.

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Copyright 2017: Twins Research Australia, Level 3, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, Victoria 3010. TRA is a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and administered by the University of Melbourne.

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