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This article is part of a special issue on epigenomics.

Highly Accessed Open Badges Opinion

DNA methylation studies using twins: what are they telling us?

Jordana T Bell and Tim D Spector

Author affiliations

Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, St Thomas Hospital Campus, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH, UK

Citation and License

Genome Biology 2012, 13:172  doi:10.1186/gb-2012-13-10-172

Published: 18 October 2012


Recent studies have identified both heritable DNA methylation effects and differential methylation in disease-discordant identical twins. Larger sample sizes, replication, genetic-epigenetic analyses and longitudinal assays are now needed to establish the role of epigenetic variants in disease.

Epigenetics; DNA methylation; twins; heritability; epigenome-wide association studies; EWAS