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Published on June 30, 2017

Avera Twin Register Multiplies Participation Across the Nation


Over one year ago, the Avera Institute for Human Genetics launched the Avera Twin Register with the hope of discovering how genes influence human traits and diseases. It’s the first and only twin register in South Dakota; however, its reach already extends far beyond the state.

Since May of 2016, the Avera Twin Register has gained 548 participants, made up of 360 individual twins or multiples and 188 family members such as siblings, parents and grandparents. Several interesting statistics about the register include:

  • The youngest set of twins was 8 months old at the time of registration. The oldest twins in the Avera Twin Register are currently 88 years old.
  • Nineteen states are represented in the Avera Twin Register, including states as far away as Alaska, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Washington.
  • Fourteen sets of twins or multiples in the Avera Twin Register are also parents of twins or multiples.

“We’re thrilled with the response to the Avera Twin Register so far,” says Gareth Davies, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Scientific Director at Avera Institute for Human Genetics. “The more participants we have the more insightful our research will be, so we will continue to enroll twins, multiples and their family members.”

By collecting and analyzing the DNA of twins – with a simple cheek swab – the Avera Twin Register gives researchers a unique opportunity to learn how environment (lifestyle, diet, relationships, etc.) and genetics impact the development of certain traits and diseases.

Avera launched its Twin Register as a result of its experience and association with the Netherlands Twin Register at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Insights gained through studying twin DNA may allow for more accurate diagnosis, the development of better treatments and possibly the prevention of diseases.

Twins – both identical and fraternal – multiples of all ages and their family members are invited to join the Avera Twin Register. Participation is simple and free of charge. To learn more and register, visit



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