Identical Twins have Identical babies?

05 July 2009


From left to right, Mabel, Nimmy and Florence Orbach



If identical twins marry identical twins, will their offspring be identical?


Kat - This is a really lovely and interesting question. But the answer is unfortunately, no, but they would be very similar. So, what happens when you make babies? What time is it?

Chris - And how long do we have there?

Kat - How much detail.

Chris - Be careful!

Kat - When mummy and daddy love each other very much in a special way, you make babies. You make babies basically by using half of the chromosomes coming from mum and half of the chromosomes coming from dad and when you create egg and sperm cells in your ovaries and your testes, you kind of get a random assortment of whatever chromosomes you happen to have. So, half from mom and half from dad, and they come together to make a baby. And so, this process of random assortment of chromosomes will be going on in both sets of parents to make their children but because he's starting from matching stocks as it were because if you got two identical sets of twins, they have identical sets of chromosomes. So, it's almost like you just have one set of mom and dad's. So, the children they produce would not be identical but they would be very similar, as similar as you are to your brothers and sisters because effectively, it's just like having one set of chromosomes that are randomly sorting and going in to babies. So yes, they wouldn't look identical but they would look very similar. In some families, brothers and sisters can look incredibly similar. So, it would just really depend on the luck of the genetic draw.

Chris - Because identical twins are effectively nature's own natural clones.

Kat - Nature's clones, yes.

Chris - And if you wanted to have clones on tap, you should become a nine-banded armadillo because they naturally make quads. They naturally split their eggs into four identical derivatives which then turn into four genetically identical offspring. I don't know why, but they make quads, quite naturally that are genetically identical to each other, bizarre.


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