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TWINS | SNIWT

Australia Olympics U.S. Track 
August 24, 2000 
This is a photo of Alvin Harrison and Calvin Harrison

Steve Holland

Australia Olympics U.S. Track August 24, 2000 This is a photo of Alvin Harrison and Calvin Harrison

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Twins, not the baseball team but two offsprings produced by the same pregnancy. Twins can either be identical, meaning that they develop one zygote, or fraternal, meaning that they develop from two different eggs. Identical and fraternal twins have quite different traits. For example, identical twins are always the same gender and blood type while fraternal twins are usually are different genders and blood type.

 

However, similarities do exist as both identical and fraternal twins both have different fingerprints.

 

Twins are not as rare as you may think. There were 135,336 twin births in the United States in 2014. That means about 3.4% of all babies born that year were twins — a record high birth rate which been climbing steadily since 1980, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

When you hear twins, you may automatically think identical twins. There’s an important reason as to why that’s the case. Scholars including Sir Cyril Burt (English educational psychologist), Sir Francis Galton (Statistician and Psychologist), and Thomas Bouchard (psychologist) have been using identical twins as subjects for nature vs nurture case studies. The nature vs nurture cases pertains to the effect that genes have on human personalities versus the influences that early environment and development factors might have.

 

Environmental changes include where you live: rural or urban, proximity from the equator, and whether or not you live with your twin.  Twin characteristics that can be influenced by environmental changes include different clothing styles, hairstyles, or cosmetic uses, in addition to how much sleep they get, food preference, or study habits.

 

There is a degree of truth about this information for one of the many sets of twins at Apple Valley High School. Identical twins Juniors Kyli Knutson and Nicole Knutson live together and practically do everything together. Kyli states, “We both like Batman and Hamilton and once I like something first, Nicole starts listening to it with me and starts to like it too.” Nicole extends upon that and states, “When we were younger we liked the same thing and as we grew older we still like the similar thing.”

 

Identical twins who share the same genes but different environment changes can have a drastic effect as they age. For example, when just one twin gets a disease, researchers can look for elements in the twins’ environments that are different. Or when both twins get a disease, researchers can look for genetic elements shared among similar twin pairs. Such studies can help pinpoint the molecular mechanism of a disease and determine the extent of environmental influence

 

Identical twins have the same underlying DNA with the same genotype but may have slightly different phenotypes. Epigenetics is related to or arising from nongenetic influences on gene expression. Epigenetics, in turn, affect how cells read the genes, genes such as eye color, hair texture, and skin conditions.

 

Comparing Identical and Fraternal Twins: A higher percentage of disease incidence in both identical twins is the first indication of a genetic component.

 

However, epigenetics may not have been present for two identical twins, both named Jim Lewis, separated at birth and then adopted by families in Ohio. Both had childhood dogs named “Toy.” Both were married twice — first to women named Linda, and then to women named Betty. Both had sons named James Allen. Both lived in the only house on their block. Both were chain-smokers, enjoyed beer, had woodworking shops in their garages, drove Chevrolets, and served as sheriffs in separate Ohio counties. 

“In these nature vs nurture case studies to be split apart not knowing you have an identical twin is just bizarre, at least tell them that they have a twin,” said both  Kyli and Nicole.   

Although environmental changes clearly didn’t have a change on the Jim Twins, epigenetic changes vary between identical twins. For Kyli Knutson and Nicole Knutson, epigenetic changes are apparent. Kyli Knutson has quite sensitive skin compared to Nicole and she also has prescription glasses. 

Now you know that identical twins are not really identical. In fact, according to Dr. Barry Starr (Geneticist), identical twins do have identical DNA, but the difference is how often marks (epigenetic) read cells that carry different traits.

 

 

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TWINS | SNIWT