In this article we describe the design and implementation of a database for extended twin families. The database does not focus on probands or on index twins, as this approach becomes problematic when larger multigenerational families are included, when more than one set of multiples is present within a family, or when families turn out to be part of a larger pedigree. Instead, we present an alternative approach that uses a highly flexible notion of persons and relations. The relations among the subjects in the database have a one-to-many structure, are user-definable and extendible and support arbitrarily complicated pedigrees. Some additional characteristics of the database are highlighted, such as the storage of historical data, predefined expressions for advanced queries, output facilities for individuals and relations among individuals and an easy-to-use multi-step wizard for contacting participants. This solution presents a flexible approach to accommodate pedigrees of arbitrary size, multiple biological and nonbiological relationships among participants and dynamic changes in these relations that occur over time, which can be implemented for any type of multigenerational family study.
- Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)