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The Peri/Postnatal Epigenetic Twins Study (PETS)

Research project

PETS is a research project being conducted by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.

PETS is a study of twins, from when they were in the womb through to childhood and beyond. We aim to work out what makes us all who we are; our health, development and wellbeing. We have chosen to start our research with twins, who share the same mother, but are usually in their own 'sac' during pregnancy, then share the same home environment as children. Despite this, even 'identical' twins can have different personalities, physical characteristics and illnesses. We want to know why these differences exist and what they can tell us about the first years of life.

It would be of great value to us if you have any suggestions or comments you would like to make about our research and what research questions interests you. Your comments could even inspire us to research something we hadn’t previously thought of.

Some general information about the PETS study: 

There were 250 mothers of twin pairs who were recruited before their twins were born. Of these, 221 families agreed to participate again as their twin children reached six years of age. This is a remarkable 88% and a credit to all our families for the time and effort that is put into this research. In addition to this, we also had some families who were unable to participate in this phase of the study due to work and family commitments, but who would like to continue in the study. We look forward to being able to discover more about the health and development of twins in these families in the future.

We are thrilled to report that more than 90% of our participating families completed all three questionnaires about their twins’ health and development, dietary habits and preferences, their oral health and their families. Again, the time and effort that goes into responding to these questionnaires is very much appreciated. The information you are able to provide helps us to know more about twins, their families and to better understand any findings in the biological samples you provide. It also assists us to track the children from birth.