Saturday, 23 March, 2019

DNAmazing: Second-Ever Pair of Semi-Identical Twins Identified in Australia

Wayne and Brad Kinross READ MOREAustralian basketball twins shoot for gold at Special Olympics
Celia Hoffman | 01 March, 2019, 09:23

Prof Fisk said after extensive genetic testing to rule out chromosomal abnormalities, they concluded the most likely scenario was the mother's egg was simultaneously fertilised by two of the father's sperm before dividing. The medical team found the American twins' chromosomes were identical to their mother's, but not their father's.

Doctors initially thought that twins were identical following an ultrasound scan where they were sharing the same placenta. Fraternal twins occur when each twin develops from a separate egg and the egg is fertilized by its own sperm.

It suggests that such twins are incredibly rare, as embryos such as these often do not survive.

"In the case of the Brisbane sesquizygotic twins, the fertilised egg appears to have equally divided up the three sets of chromosomes into groups of cells which then split into two, creating the twins", Gabbett said in the QUT report.

What you might not know about are sesquizygotic or semi-identical twins, who are neither fraternal or identical, but something in between. The twins came to the researcher's attention after an investigation revealed the mixed chromosomes.

The first set of semi-identical twins was identified in 2007 in the US, when they were infants; this is the first time semi-identical twins have been identified in the womb, according to the report.

Next, the three sets of chromosomes would've been divvied up into three separate cells: One cell received chromosomes from the mother and first sperm cell, the other from the mother and second sperm cell and the third from both sperm cells.

The woman, who was 28 when she gave birth, conceived naturally.

More news: Mayawati calls PM Modi's video-conference ridiculous, betrayal of national sentiments

They share 100 per cent of the DNA from their mother, but only 50 per cent of the DNA from their father, leaving the pair half way between identical and non-identical.

A rare set of semi-identical twins have been identified in Australia, only the second set ever reported in the world. Professor Fisk, a past President of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society, worked alongside clinical geneticist Dr Gabbett.

"However, an ultrasound at 14 weeks showed the twins were male and female, which is not possible for identical twins".

The sister and brother share identical DNA from their mother, but not from their father, New Scientist reported.

But in this case, the twins did survive and were delivered by cesarean section at 33 weeks of pregnancy, according to the report. They looked at the genetic data from 968 twins and their parents, and did not find a single case of semi-identical twins. Doctors identified them when one baby had ambiguous sex organs.

But in research from the University of New South Wales and the Queensland University of Technology published in the New England Journal of Medicine, we learn of a very unique set of Australian twins. Neither that data nor large global twin studies found other semi-identical twins.

The unnamed four-year-olds, however, are said to be "beautiful and healthy". Usually the resulting embryo dies as it has three sets of chromosomes instead of the two.

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