Twins test whether tunefulness is in the genes

Twin singers Yasmin and Yolander Obsolom. Photo: Wayne TaylorCan sing? Can’t sing? It doesn’t matter to University of Melbourne researchers, who are seeking twins for a world-first study into whether singing ability is genetic.

Twins aged over 15 years are wanted for a study also involving the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and the Australian Twin Registry to assess if it is nature or nurture that most influences whether people can sing.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Sarah Wilson said the study might determine differences between a genetic link to singing and the result of sharing the same experiences growing up, such as singing with parents and at school and playing singing games.

“If we find in this study . . . the twins who are identical more closely resemble each other in their ability to sing a perfect pitch tune, then that’s strong evidence that they are genetically determined,” she said.

“We’re particularly interested in this study about the genetic factors. What role does nurture as opposed to nature have.”

She said the study would help in teaching music and developing education programs.

Study participant and tenor Daniel Thomson said he and his identical twin brother Matthew, 25, were soloists who also enjoyed singing together.

“We are both quite individual people and don’t necessarily identify ourselves solely as ‘twin singers’,” Daniel said.

Also involved in the study are country and western singers Yasmin and Yolanda, whose experience of pairing up musically has resulted in performances of all sizes and recording an EP. Now they are focusing on performing at this year’s Tamworth Music Festival.

Associate Professor Wilson was hopeful the study would be nationwide with the help of Australia’s large twin registry, which has about 35,000 pairs of twins. The registry has already helped provide candidates for research into conditions such as heart disease, cancer and epilepsy.

Researchers are expecting final results for the singing study in 18 months.

“The more people that we can get to join in the better, because we know that singing is so beneficial for our mental health and for our physical health, and it’s something that we want more Australians to participate in over time,” Associate Professor Wilson said.

Participants do not need any singing or musical experience. Researchers will be recruiting for up to 12 months. To join the study and complete the 30-minute survey visit twins苏州美睫培训.au.

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