December 05, 2013, 11:24 am -- /EPR NETWORK/ -- On September 27 and 28 the First scientific and educational Festival of Twins was held at Tomsk State University. It was attended by 30 sets of twins from Tomsk, from school-years 2 to 11. The event was organized by scientists from Tomsk in order to mark the fact that Russia now has a database unlike any other: the Russian Register of School-age Twins. The festival was also attended by international experts in the field of psychogenetics from Moscow, the UK and the USA.
At the opening of the Festival, even Rector of Tomsk State University, Georgy Mayer, admitted that "despite the fact that there are a lot of youngsters here today, Tomsk State University is a serious scientific institute, and studies in the field of cognitive science represent a whole field of natural science in their own right." Twin Registers can already be found in all of the world's developed countries: they are databases which are used to carry out studies in an extremely wide range of areas of human activity: from medical diseases to school education.
Three years ago TSU was awarded a grant by Order of the Government of Russia No. 220 in order to set up an international laboratory for cognitive studies and psychogenetics. It was at this very laboratory that the Russian Register of School-age Twins project was carried out. As the scientists emphasize, the Twin Registers are not compiled in order to study the uniqueness of twins. The task of databases like these is to compare identical and non-identical twins and study genetic and external factors. Scientists from Tomsk are studying complex processes of interaction in the genetic field: how genes and the external environment work together, and what it is that gives each child their unique cognitive motivation.
"There are currently three thousand sets of twins in the Register," explains Yulia Kovas, the head of the Laboratory and director of the International Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Investigations into Individual Differences in Learning (InLab) in the department of psychology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. "We are aiming to get as many twins as possible, from all the schools in Russia - and there are more than 40,000 of them - into it. The goal of this Register is to study children's development and all the processes related to learning. Thereafter, the twins will be invited to take part in various scientific projects. Studies of this kind have already begun - twins from the older school-years have already been invited to take part in studies of their mathematical abilities."
Tomsk State University was named as one of the top 15 institutes of higher education in Russia in a contest to receive state funding in order to become one of the best universities in the world. The following 15 universities participate in the programme:
• Far Eastern Federal University (FEFA)
• Kazan (Volga Region) State University
• The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT)
• National University of Science and Technology "MISIS" (MISIS)
• National Research Tomsk State University
• Novosibirsk State University
• Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod
• National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI)
• National Research University Higher School of Economics
• National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University
• Samara State Aerospace University
• St.Petersburg State Polytechnical University
• St.Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics
• Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University LETI
• Ural Federal University