This is Norio Sakai, and I have been the Director of the Twin Research Center, acting since April 2018. Our Twin Research Center was established as the first twin research center in Japan in 2009, so we have been conducting research activities for eight years until present. Twin research is a fundamental research method of human genetics, applied to discover how various traits and diseases of humans are determined by genes back from the old days. As Watson and Click discovered DNA, molecular biology has made great progress using Escherichia coli, Drosophila, and recently, genetic modification of model animals such as mice has made great strides in genetic research.
However, it has recently become clear that things related to human beings cannot be fully understood without investigating humans itself. The Center has been conducting twin research as a research on human beings from the time of establishment, by creating twin registration which includes many samples such as DNA and RNA. Together with the cooperation of more than 470 pairs of twin pairs, we have collected various blood, serum, DNA and RNA samples, by conducting health checkups for the twins. Based on the purpose of the researcher, we have also performed head MRI and functional head MRI, and conduct various questionnaire surveys.
Recently, we have been applying globally advanced analytical methods such as: analysis of whole genome information; collection of epigenome information to understand the expression level of genes; analysis of intestinal bacterial flora, etc. Our center is a part of the Graduate School of Medicine at Osaka University and we are conducting joint research with many different Graduate Schools of Osaka University and also with domestic research centers such as RIKEN, the National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition, Center for Information and Neural Networks (CiNet) at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Keio University and also with twin research team overseas such as the University of Helsinki and Semmelweis University, School of Medicine.
A new goal we are currently working on is to advance the registration of twins the in pediatric area, as well as to conduct a big data analysis of twins, to fulfill our mission to develop as a center for designing a new era in health. We thank you for your cooperation.
Professor Norio Sakai, Doctor of Medicine
Director of the Center for Twin Research,
Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine