News archive 2009
The Secret Life of Twins30 Sep 2009, PR 201/09
The Twin Research Unit at King’s College London will feature prominently in a new two-part documentary airing on BBC One this evening (30 September) to examine the nature of twin relationships.
Earlier this year the unit celebrated their development of the twins database with a Summer Twin Party in July. The BBC filmed this event for the twins documentary The Secret Life of Twins and the programmes will air tonight and tomorrow at 9pm on BBC One.
The first part of the documentary series will follow Identical twins who have lived their lives apart and yet develop identical heart conditions at almost the same moment in their life-time.
The second episode (due to be broadcast on 1 October) explores the unusual differences that set some identical twins apart. Two mass twin gatherings at St Thomas' Hospital in London and Twinsburg in Ohio provide twins Chris and Xand van Tulleken with a unique opportunity to meet hundreds of pairs of identical and non identical twins, and to find out how different they really are.
Though they are born with the same genetic package, some identical twins have startling differences that present scientists with challenging questions about how we become who we are meant to be. The two-part series will examine how by studying identical twins who differ in disease or personality, we can show that environment and also luck and unknown factors play an important part in changing our genetic programming through the years.
Notes to editors
The Department of Twin Research at King's
The Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology Unit (DTR) is located at St Thomas’ Hospital London and was established in 1992. The DTR became affiliated with the Division of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at King’s on 1 September 2006.
Using data collected from over 11,000 twins, the department research focuses on determining the genetic basis to common conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, stroke, cataracts, and back pain. They also study the genetics of common behaviours. Together with collaborators, the DTR has published hundreds of twin research papers in peer-reviewed journals.
The department work is supported by The Wellcome Trust, The Arthritis Research Campaign, The British Heart Foundation, The Chronic Disease Research Foundation, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and The European Commission.
The department has a database of 11,000 twins and studies a wide variety of diseases and traits and is always looking for more adult twin volunteers, male or female, identical or non-identical to help with their studies. To volunteer or for more information please phone: 020 7188 5555 or visit the website: http://www.twinsUK.ac.uk
For further information on the documentaries please contact: Victoria Asare-Archer, Knowledge Publicity, email@example.com / 0208 225 8399
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2008) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has more than 21,000 students from nearly 140 countries, and more than 5,700 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.
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