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Is it possible to be two people genetically? (Interesting Science)

15/11/2017

When a couple who had a son through IVF found that their sons blood type matched neither of theres they turned to a DNA paternity test which showed that the man was not the biological father of the child.

After further investigation via an ancestry DNA test, the couple found that, genetically, the man was the sons uncle. 

As it turns out, the tested man had absorbed his dead twins DNA in the womb causing the mans genes found in his saliva and sperm to be genetically different. This means that the biological father of the child was the mans twin who was never born!

This condition, human chimera, means a person with the genes of more than one person. But just how common is chimera?

Around 21-30% of multiple foetus pregnancies result in the loss of a twin in the womb, meaning that many people may be chimeras but may never find out. 

Similarly, mothers may retain DNA from their babies during pregnancy if the DNA migrates outside the uterus. To study this, scientists at the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands [1] investigated mothers who had died during pregnancy or shortly after the birth of a baby boy. They suggested that if the mother had traces of a Y chromosome (the male sex chromosome) in their cells they had acquired their sons DNA through the pregnancy.

They found that all mothers showed low concentrations of cells with a Y chromosome. 

[1] https://academic.oup.com/molehr/article/21/11/857/2459808

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