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Fascinating twin and triplet facts

14th September 2018 

Check out these fascinating twin and triplet facts taken from the Twin Research and Human Genetics Journal

What are the odds?

Liverpool Mum Becki-Jo said finding out she was expecting triplets was the biggest shock of her life. (We’re with you on that!) Her three boys were safely delivered in May 2015.

The boys, Roman, Rocco and Rohan, (3lbs 6, 3lbs 5, and 3lbs 10 respectively) were delivered by caesarean section at 31 weeks before spending three weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. After they returned home Becki-Jo noticed that the boys were very alike, and DNA tests have now confirmed that they are identical which is incredibly rare.

The triplets were conceived naturally, beating approximately 200 million to one odds and result when the original fertilised egg splits and then one of the resultant cells splits again.

French man survives 95% burns thanks to skin graft from his identical twin brother

In September 2016, an industrial accident left Franck Dufourmantelle with severe burns over 95% of his body. Given the extent of this injuries doctors at the time said his chance of survival was as little as one per cent.

However, when doctors were informed he had an identical twin brother, his odds improved. Why? Well, their genetic make-up is identical, it’s as if it were his own skin.

Franck was placed in an induced coma and seven days after the accident doctors took grafts from his twin brother Eric.  In all they removed 50 per cent of Eric’s skin then stretched it on a special machine before placing it on the patient’s badly burned body.

The huge advantage in taking it from an identical twin means the skin will never be rejected and unlike other skin grafts, Franck required no immunosuppressants (drugs that lower the body’s ability to reject a transplant).

Franck spent more than four months in hospital and said of his twin brother: “I owe him my life. I take full measure of such a strong act of love.”

Despite Eric’s concerns that they may no longer appear identical, the two still share common features.

Sad death of remaining twin from the world’s longest separated pair

In 2014, the world’s longest separated pair of twins (as confirmed by Guinness World Records) were reunited at 78 years old for the first time since they were babies.

Liz Hamel and Ann Hunt had been born in Aldershot (interestingly, where Tamba is based) but as their mother was a lone parent and unable to care for both, Ann was adopted at 5 months old.

Liz knew she had a twin, but had moved to the USA and had little hope of finding her. It was Ann’s daughter, trying to find her mother’s biological relatives, who first managed to connect with Liz.

Tragically, just six months after meeting, Liz died of cancer. Ann passed away in December last year and Guinness World Records are said to be preparing a tribute to them both.

Insight into Canadian conjoined twins

Krista and Tatiana Hogan, now 11 years old, have been the subjects of scientific interest since their birth.

The conjoined twins are craniopagus (joined at the head) and their brains are also connected. As a result they are able to see what their twin sees, feel the same sensations, and even communicate by thought.

This has raised some questions about sense of self, as each girl also has her own distinct personality.

Director Judith Pike released a documentary in August 2018 called Inseparable: Ten Years Joined at the Head to try and examine some of these difficult and complex questions about the individuality and shared consciousness of the girls. The documentary is currently only being shown in Canada.

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