These Twins Have The Same DNA But Different Skin And Eye Colors. How Crazy Is That?
Amelia and Jasmine Appleby are identical twins. But you would not be able to tell just by looking at them. They have completely different skin tones, eye colors, and hair textures. They look so different from each other that they are often mistaken for step-sisters.
Doctors were shocked
The parents are Tafadzwa Madzimbamuto, 40, and Libby Appleby, 37. Prior to delivering the twins, Libby was told that she would need to mark them with ink to tell them apart. That turned out not to be necessary.
“When they were born, we were flabbergasted, even the doctors couldn’t believe it,” she recalled. She added that the medics gasped when they delivered the girls. “They look like they’re different races. Amelia is the spitting image of her dad, while Jasmine is a mini version of me.”
One in a million
“We put them next to each other in a cot and couldn’t believe how different they were. Amelia was so much darker than Jasmine, they barely even looked related,” Libby said. “Doctors told us the chances of conceiving mixed race twins are one in a million.”
To confirm that they were truly identical, a sample of her placenta was taken. It confirmed that the girls are 100% genetically identical.
“We were thrilled they were so unique,” she added.
Dr. Claire Steves, who works for the Department of Twin Research, explained how this phenomenon happens. There are several genes controlling skin color. Usually, identical twins completely share them.
“… an exception might be when a change in one of these happens after the twins separate in very early development – so called somatic mutation,” Steves said. “Alternatively, sometimes markers on the DNA which influence the extent to which the DNA is expressed can be different in the twins. We do have some evidence that skin colour is subject to this kind of ‘epigenetic’ control.”
Steves said one last possibility could be:
“… if the twins have been exposed to different environments, they may differ in skin colour due to this – for example if one has had greater sun exposure or has developed a condition where the pigmented cells are affected, which may happen to one just by chance.”
But even with these possibilities, most twins still have a similar skin color. Amelia and Jasmine’s extreme case is very unusual.
The girls are just starting to notice the difference
This is not the first time that such a case happens but it is believed to be a unique occurrence in Britain. Libby said:
“We get a lot of funny looks when we tell people the girls are actually identical. I don’t blame strangers for thinking they aren’t sisters, because they do look nothing alike.”
The girls just celebrated their first birthday.
“The girls are just noticing the difference in their skin colour now, but they’re so wonderful and unique. Looking back, it’s funny that we were worried we’d never tell them apart.”