Within this line of research, the 'Obstetrics and Prenatal Diagnostics' research group carries out studies into the distinction between heredity and environment in twins.

Fund TWINS (Dutch website) encourage scientific research with multiples and support the East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey (EFPTS). Since 1964, the EFPTS registers multiples born in East-Flanders. Every maternity in East Flanders participate and more than 98% of the multiple births are registered. The EFPTS is unique in the world and contains a wealth of information of more than 10 000 multiples for researchers.

Data and sample collection

EFPTS has several unique features: it is population-based and prospective, with the possibility of long-term follow-up.

Importance of studies with multiple births

The DNA of monozygotic twins is identical. Dizygotic twins are, just like brother and sister, genetically equal for 50%. By comparing information of monozygotic and dizygotic twins, researchers gain insight into the role of nature vs nurture.

If the genetic factors (nature) have a low impact, the environmental factors (nurture) can be determined.

Monozygotic twins

Monozygotic twins originate from the fertilisation of 1 oocyte by 1 sperm, after fertilisation, the oocyte split into 2 identical parts. We can define 3 groups of monozygotic twins: monochorial monoamniotic, monochorial diamniotic, dichorial diamniotic, depending on the time of splitting of the oocyte. Monozygotic twins are genetically identical and have always the same sex. 

Dizygotic twins

Dizygotic twins originate from two oocytes that each are fertilized by 1 sperm. The twins are 50% genetically identical, like brother and sister. Dizygotic twins can have the same or opposite sex. 


Collaboration fund TWINS

Fund TWINS is a collaboration between different universities namely the University of Ghent, Leuven Hasselt, and Maastricht. Fund TWINS is located at the Gent University Hospital.

Request for collaboration

The study has an open policy in regard to collaboration with other research groups. Requests for collaboration should primarily be pointed to the chairmen of Fund TWINS Prof. dr. Steven Weyers. These requests are discussed in the scientific board regarding their study aims, overlap with ongoing studies, logistic consequences and financial contributions. After approval of the project by the scientific board, the project can be submitted to the ethical committee of UZ Gent for ethical approval.



The TWINS study team is responsible for the organization and follow-up of the TWINS Fund.

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