Genetic and environmental factors both play a role determining our physical and behavioral traits. Since identical twins share 100% of their genes, twin studies provide and invaluable method for analyzing the factors influencing personal traits. Twin studies have improved our understanding of the environmental and genetic factors associated with coronary heart disease, cancer susceptibility, addiction and memory in aging, to name a few.
Nature vs. Nurture Links
For more than 20 years, Dr. Swan and colleagues at SRI International have conducted studies of health and behavior in twins, researching conditions ranging from nicotine addiction to obesity and blood pressure. Dr. Swan will provide a brief overview of the different types of twins, the rates of twinning and the important role that people who are twins can play in supporting health research. He will also discuss how the study of twins has made important contributions to our understanding of health, and how new technologies are helping scientists better understand how the environment impacts differences between twins.
Dr. Swan has conducted research at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) for the past 30 years, serving as the Director of the Center for Health Sciences since 1987. His research areas of interest include treatment of aging, cognitive decline, nicotine dependence, genetic and environmental determinants of addiction and disease. He has been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on over 20 NIH-funded grants and has published over 190 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Swan is the current leader of SRI’s Center for Research on Independent Aging, an internally funded consortium of investigators doing research on aging at SRI.