[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 16-Jan-2013
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Contact: Rebecca Scott
rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
61-383-440-181
University of Melbourne

HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark announced as patron of Australian and Danish twin registries

Director of the Australian Twin Registry and University of Melbourne Professor John Hopper said he was extremely grateful for the Crown Princess's patronage and that as a mother of twins she was a fantastic ambassador for twin research.

"We are extremely thrilled about the announcement and hope the Crown Princess's patronage will raise awareness of the importance of twin research on a range of health issues from cancer, to diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, to osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease," he said.

In a message of support to the two registries, the Crown Princess said she was proud to be the International Patron of the Australian and Danish twin registries, long established pioneers in twin medical research and world authorities in the field.

"Twins are special, as I now know as the mother of Vincent and Josephine. What is perhaps less well-known is the special contribution twins of all ages have made to medical and health research through the Australian, Danish and other twin registries across the world.

"Twin registries bring twins and researchers together to undertake vital research that is of benefit to everyone. Twin research has contributed to breakthroughs in the understanding of human development and aging including many serious illnesses such as psychiatric diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and birth defects.

"As a parent of twins, I look forward to contributing to awareness of the unique role that twins and their families can play in health research, and to encouraging other families with twins to support this important work," she said.

As the largest voluntary twin register in the world, Australian Twin Registry researchers have made a significant impact in health research since the registry began in 1981.

More than 450 twin studies have been supported by the ATR over its history across a broad spectrum of medical conditions.

Mr Vincent Pollaers, Chair of the Australian Twin Registry and an identical twin, said for over 30 years, nearly 80,000 Australian volunteer twin members - of all ages, identical and non-identical - had registered their interest to participate in research.

"Our vital work could not continue without their support. Princess Mary's patronage is a vote of thanks to all of our twin volunteers, and acknowledgment of the important contribution they make," he said.

The ATR would also like to acknowledge key funding and resource supporters, the Federal Government's National Health and Medical Research Council, which has provided core funding since the ATR began in 1981, and the University of Melbourne, where the registry is based.

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