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How well can you sing Happy Birthday? And if the answer is 'not very well', then don't feel too bad.

"It's quite a challenging task to sing perfectly accurately, especially given the octave jump in the third phrase," said Yi Ting Tan of the University of Melbourne.

But have you ever wondered how much of your ability to sing in tune is inherited?

Dr Tan hopes a new study of twins will find out how much our genes influence our ability to be tuneful.

"We want to focus on singing ability, since singing is so good for our physical, mental, emotional wellbeing."

The study, led by Dr Tan's senior colleague, clinical neuropsychologist Sarah Wilson, will be the largest of its kind.

It aims to recruit 1,500 pairs of twins to test their abilities to hear different pitches accurately, but particularly their ability to sing in tune.

The new study will test both identical twins, who share 100 per cent of their DNA, versus fraternal twins, who share just 50 per cent of the DNA.

By comparing variability in singing ability between the two groups of twins, researchers will be able to work out to what extent genes versus environments influence singing ability.

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