Identical twins born in the UK might be making their way to the Guinness book of records as they appear to be the country’s first “black and white” twins from just one egg. The girls who just celebrated their first birthday look like they are entirely from different races even though they are genetically identical.
Doctors told 37-year-old Libby Appleby that her babies would look so similar they would need to be “marked with ink” to tell them apart.
Surprisingly, one of the twin girls Amelia was born with dark skin, black hair and brown eyes, and her sister Jasmine with fair skin, blue eyes and light curls.
Irrespective of their different skin tones, they are genetically identical and are thought to be the first of their kind in the country.
“We get a lot of funny looks when we tell people the girls are actually identical,” Libby said.
“When they were born, we were flabbergasted. They look like they’re different races. Amelia is the spitting image of her dad, while Jasmine is a mini version of me.”
The parents of the twins who are residents of County Durham, said that strangers assume the twins are step sisters.
Libby and her partner Tafadzwa Madzimbamuto, found out she was pregnant in June 2014.
Three months into the pregnancy, the couple received the news that instead of one, they should be expecting two and those two will be so identical that you can’t tell them apart.
Libby said medics at University of Durham Hospital “gasped” when they delivered the girls who are monozygotic (formed in the same embryo but developed in separate sacs).
“We put them next to each other in a cot and couldn’t believe how different they were.
“Doctors told us the chances of mixed race [identical] twins are one in a million. We were thrilled they were so unique,” she added excitedly.
A look at the sample of Libby’s placenta confirmed the twins are 100% genetically identical, irrespective of their looks.
Dr Claire Steves, from the Department of Twin Research, said skin colour is controlled by multiple genes and although identical twins are very likely to share them completely, it is not definite.
Mother nature never ceases to amaze us.