She’s Her Own Invisible Twin

By | September 8, 2006

Shes Her Own Invisible TwinAmazing. A handful of people are, on a DNA level, more than one person at the same time. Lydia gave birth to her children, but genetically she is only her children’s aunt. The real mother is her invisible twin. Sound crazy and impossible? Read on…

“… The Department of Social Services called [Lydia Fairchild] and told her to come in immediately. What Fairchild thought was a routine meeting with a social worker turned into an interrogation. …

“As I sat down, they came up and shut the door, and they just went back and just started drilling me with questions like, ‘Who are you?'” Fairchild said. The DNA test results challenged everything she knew about her family. Yes, her boyfriend was the father of the children, and, yes, they were all related, according to the DNA, except for Fairchild. She was told she wasn’t the mother.

Fairchild was certain a mistake must have been made, but she recalled a social worker saying to her, “Nope. DNA is 100 percent foolproof and it doesn’t lie.”

Fairchild was not only denied government assistance for her young children, she was now suspected of possibly acting as a paid surrogate mother and committing welfare fraud. … Fairchild called her obstetrician, Dr. Leonard Dreisbach. He was there for all the births and assured Fairchild he’d vouch for her in court. … But none of that seemed to matter, because DNA tests were considered infallible ? the gold standard in court. DNA showed that Fairchild’s genetic makeup did not match that of her children.

… then she got a break. Across the country, there was another woman with DNA that didn’t match her children’s, but in this case, the doctors had cracked the medical mystery.

“Any child from a mom and dad should inherit genes from both the mom and the dad. In [Karen Keegan’s] case, it appeared that her two boys hadn’t inherited any of her DNA,” said Dr. Lynne Uhl, a pathologist and doctor of transfusion medicine… Keegan told Uhl that she’d had a thyroid nodule removed a while back. After an extensive search, doctors found a sample of her thyroid tissue saved in a nearby lab in the Boston area. According to Uhl, this piece of tissue was the key to solving the medical mystery.

The DNA that would match her sons’ DNA could have been anywhere in Keegan’s body. But her thyroid was where she matched her sons’ genetic code. The mystery was solved. In a way, Keegan was her own twin. … “In her blood, she was one person, but in other tissues, she had evidence of being a fusion of two individuals,” Uhl said. It’s a rare condition called chimerism, with only 30 documented cases worldwide. … In human biology, a chimera is an organism with at least two genetically distinct types of cells ? or, in other words, someone meant to be a twin. But while in the mother’s womb, two fertilized eggs fuse, becoming one fetus that carries two distinct genetic codes ? two separate strands of DNA.

The twin is invisible, but for chimeras the twin lives microscopically inside the body as DNA.

When Uhl told Keegan she was her own twin, Keegan said she was shocked. “You wouldn’t imagine that that could even be possible.”

… After the [new] tests were done, there was proof that Fairchild was her own twin as well. The judge finally believed Fairchild was the biological mother of her children and dismissed the case.” – abcnews

It is also possible for a single person to be genetically four different people. Part human part animal chimeras have also been created.

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