Fingerprints, Identical Twins, and Chimeras

Science and nature is fascinating, and the more we learn, the more we find out there are so many little things to discover.  I has a simple thought about fingerprints and how they differ for each person, so “Can identical twins have identical fingerprints?”  The answer is no, fingerprints develop based on a variety of environmental factors not related to DNA.

During my twin info quest, I also discovered a few other interesting facts:

  • Identical Twins refers to the situation where one fertilized egg splits in two, so we would expect the twins to have the same gender because they have the same DNA.  (Fraternal twins are created by two different fertilized eggs at the same time, so they do not have the same DNA and can result in different genders).  But it is possible to have a boy/girl combo from one split egg.  In some cases, a boy twin (XY chromosomes) may loose the Y chromosome and become female with one X chromosome which is called Turner Syndrome.

  • Even for identical twins coming from the same fertilized egg, their DNA is not exactly identical, although it’s virtually indistinguishable.
  • Identical twins will have different personalities because these characteristics are influenced by environment.
  • Disappearing Twin – The vanishing twin syndrome are documented events to two embryos at one point in the pregnancy, and one embryo disappears.  This can happen in one of many ways.  What’s amazing, this could be happening in 50% (average of the extreme range of expert opinions) of the pregnancy of multiples.  So for every set of multiples that are born, there may be as many disappearing twin in the world.   One of the potential ways of loosing the embryo is that it get absorbed by the other embryo.  Does this always produce a Chimera?

Chimeras are organisms (plants or animals) with two sets of DNA.  This has been documents in a few people who accidentally discovered this when evaluating their DNA for parental testing or some other inquiry.  A woman’s DNA (from her blood) was compared to her children’s DNA but could not show a parental match.  The children’s DNA could be connected to the mother’s family and the father.  Then one day, her DNA was taken from a body organ instead of her blood, and the connection to her children was confirmed.  And the discovery of her two sets of DNA that are completely different.  Maybe she was conceived with a twin and her embryo absorbed the other embryo.

This idea is important when we consider how much we rely on DNA identification in legal and criminal matters.  And we don’t really know how many people are chimeras, this discovery is very accidental, and little is known right now on the frequency of chimeras.  We should keep this in mind when using DNA as evidence.

Overall, twins provide a valuable source of research on human behavior and conditions.

Additional Referenced info:

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