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Researcher eNews, Summer 2020

In this edition:

Round-up of 2020 

The year 2020 has been unprecedented in TRA’s history and we thank you all for your support through these challenging times. It has been a great credit to our research community that together we’ve been able to pivot and adapt to these ever-evolving times.

We’ve continued our research at greater than full capacity largely by delivering studies online. In addition we’ve contributed to better understanding the impact of COVID-19 on Australians through the roll-out of a series of TRA studies to adult twins and multiple-birth families – more details below. Most heartening was the incredible response by our TRA members. Despite their own individual hardships, they have continued to support our studies including over 5,500 members who joined our COVID-19 research.

No doubt the situation will continue to evolve in 2021 but, as this year has shown, we are stronger together. We look forward to continuing our vital research and collaborations, and responding to new challenges as needed in what will be our 40th year of service. From the whole team at Twins Research Australia, we wish you a happy and relaxing festive season – stay safe and take care.

Upcoming virtual workshop

A virtual global workshop entitled “Twin Studies in Behavioral and Health Research: Current Status, Prospects and Applications” will be held on the 11th of December, 2020. It will cover a range of practical topics in twin studies, including statistical methods and study designs. It will also explore applications of twin research in areas such as psychological development, attachment in adults, behaviour, health and wellbeing, and more. It is free-of-charge and will be run by the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Click here for more information.

Updates on TRA's COVID-19 studies

We have now completed two waves of the adult version of the Twins Research Australia COVID-19 Knowledge, Experience, Reaction, and Resilience study (TRACKERR). The study consists of a series of surveys that aim to provide insights into how Australians and their families are being impacted by the pandemic. Nearly 4,000 individuals participated in the Wave 1 survey, and nearly 3,000 in the Wave 2 survey. Approximately 2,200 individuals took part in both. A summary of Wave 1 findings was released earlier this year, and the next step will be to perform a comparative analysis with the results from the Wave 2 survey, to see how responses have changed over the course of the pandemic.

Additionally, we have completed the first wave of our parents of twins and triplets TRACKERR survey, and a preliminary synopsis of the results is now available. Although juggling remote learning and work commitments was a particular challenge for many families, most parents thought they and their children were coping quite well, with many reporting the pandemic had brought their families closer together. Twins seemed to have coped particularly well, adjusting to the restrictions better than both their siblings and parents. More detailed findings are outlined in this infographic. A second wave survey of parents of twins and triplets is currently in development and will focus on the longer-term impact of COVID-19 restrictions on parents and families.

If you are a researcher and interested in collaborating with us on these important projects, please contact us.

A global perspective of twin COVID-19 studies

Professor Nancy Segal, Director of the Twin Studies Centre at California State University, explores twin cases and studies around the world that are helping us to better understand COVID-19 and its impact, including our own TRACKERR study. Learn more.

Resilience, wellbeing and our genes

With concerns about stress and mental health during the pandemic, Dr Justine Gatt's twin research on resilience has featured prominently in the media recently (see this ABC news article and radio interview in which her research is discussed). Dr Gatt and her team have also recently released a new paper that compares different measures of wellbeing in regards to their heritability and stability over time. Additionally, they investigated how well genes can predict the wellbeing scores that result from these measures. For a summary of their results and a link to the full paper, please click here.

Conversations in twin research

In this issue of our ongoing series, Conversations in Twin Research, Associate Professor Jeff Craig and colleagues discuss the importance of zygosity knowledge for twins and science. This article focuses on how accurate knowledge of zygosity is crucial not only for research but also for medical, social, financial and ethical reasons; and how incorrect assumptions can lead to twins being misclassified. The authors present and discuss a set of recommendations as a potential solution to this issue. If you have any comments or questions, please go to our Facebook Twin Researcher and Stats Group here.

Recent publications

A selection of recent publications from TRA and our collaborators are included below.

Journal articles and book chapters:

Media stories:

Do you have upcoming research to be published?

If so, remember when referring to Twins Research Australia during the course of your research, please ensure you use our new name and logo. Also, a reminder to use the following wording when acknowledging Twins Research Australia in your publications:

“This research was facilitated through access to Twins Research Australia, a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant (ID: 1079102), from the National Health and Medical Research Council.”

An electronic copy of all publications should be sent to

TRA office Christmas closure dates

Please note the TRA office will be closed for the Christmas and New Year period from 25th December 2020 – 11th January 2021 (inclusive).

1800 037 021 | |

Our mailing address is: Twins Research Australia, 3/207 Bouverie Street, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia.

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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