Multiple Births

Identical Twins May Not Be Identical

Not enough is known about identical twins and what makes them so unique.

Research in 2005 found that identical twins differ in how their genes express themselves. Now scientists have learned that all identical twins may actually differ genetically from their partners to some degree.

Some of the differences that scientists have found have been:

  • identical twins do not have identical fingerprints
  • one may develop the rapid aging disorder progeria while the other may not

When researchers analyzed 19 pairs of identical twins they found that even though they did possess nearly identical genomes, they often differed in the number of copies of individual gene segments. For instance, one twin might be missing a segment, or possess more copies of that segment than the other twin.

These variations could explain why one identical twin can suffer from a disorder while the other remains healthy.

Researcher Carl Bruder also believes that genetic differences between identical twins might also accumulate after development over a twin’s life as well. “I think all our genomes are under constant change.”

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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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