Gemini is a large population-based study of 2402 families with twins born in England and Wales between March and December 2007. Gemini families have been followed for over a decade, providing information about the twins’ growth, eating behaviours, appetite and the environment at home.
Gemini aims to advance understanding of the genetic and environmental influences on obesity risk; to identify potentially modifiable determinants of excessive weight gain in early childhood; and to contribute to a longer-term programme of integrated genetic environmental research in preventive health behaviours.
Gemini is one of the richest early growth datasets in the world, and the largest dietary dataset for toddlers in the UK. Gemini has led to important discoveries about how our genes and our environment influence children’s appetites and growth.
MEET THE TEAM
The Gemini study was established by Professor Jane Wardle in 2007. Current members of the Gemini team are Dr Clare Llewellyn, Dr Alison Fildes, Dr Andrea Smith, Alice Kininmonth, Dr Silvia Pastorino and Dr Abigail Fisher.
I helped Professor Jane Wardle set Gemini up in 2007 and I currently lead the study. It has been an immense privilege to have been involved in Gemini since the beginning, and to see the major scientific advances that have been achieved with the help of the Gemini families
Alison fildes, deputy director
I joined Gemini in 2009, when the twins were approaching their 2nd birthdays. I have enjoyed being part of such an important study. The information provided by the Gemini families continually delivers fascinating insights into how the environment and our genes influence our health and behaviours.
I joined Gemini in 2014 to start my PhD on the genetic and environmental influences on health, behaviour and weight. I have taken these insights forward and, combined with my passion for public health, aim to translate this work into recommendations for health policy.
In 2017 I was lucky enough to join the Gemini team as a PhD student. My research explores how our genes and the home environment interact to influence the development of children's appetite and weight. Thank you to all the Gemini families for making this possible.
I joined the Gemini team in 2019 to investigate how childhood appetite traits could predispose to eating disorders and disordered eating in pre-adolescents. Twin studies offer a unique opportunity to study the interplay between environmental and genetic influences on eating behaviours and psychogical wellbeing.
I’m a senior researcher on the Gemini twin birth cohort, examining genetic and environmental influences on physical activity in childhood. I have supervised Gemini PhD students researching the home environment, health behaviours, sleep and eating behaviours.