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Michigan State's database of 28,000 twins used to unlock medical mysteries

Aug 26, 2016

Twins: They look alike, many of them sound and act alike. They could also hold the power to help the medical world unlock some of its biggest mysteries.

Researchers at Michigan State University's Department of Psychology are connected with more than 28,000 sets of twins from across the country. The database is one of three that exist in the nation, and it is one of the biggest.

Alexandra Burt, a Professor of Psychology at MSU, joined Stateside to tell us how can twins help find cures and treatments for some of the world's worst affiliations.

"They allow you to study environmental influences in, effectively, a causal way," said Burt.

Since identical twins share the exact same DNA, you can determine how their environment is affecting each individual. With that information, researchers can narrow down what causes a variety of diseases and conditions.  

Listen to the full interview above to hear why Michigan State is also looking for fraternal twins (in addition to identical ones) and the offspring of twins to assist in their research and how they were able to get 28,000 sets of twins to be a part of the database.

GUEST: Alexandra Burt is a Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University 

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