Sunday, October 1, 2006

DNA Fluke - Babies That Didn't Match Mom

DNA provides a very, very accurate way of identifying family members. But a rare anomaly shows the tests aren't perfect. She's Her Own Twin, ABC News, Aug. 15, 2006.

When a Washington woman named Lydia Fairchild sought public assistance, routine paternity tests confirmed the child's father -- but indicated that she was not there mother. Having been through pregnancy and labor, she was astonished. But the Department of Social and Health Services repeated the test, denied benefits, and began proceedings to take her children from her. She had trouble finding an attorney, but eventually hired Richland lawyer Alan Tindell.

It turned out that she has a very rare condition called "chimerism," which means that her body includes two separate strands of DNA -- "hers" (the DNA in most of her body) and that of a phantom twin (a twin that merged with her in utero).

The Discovery Channel has a documentary on this phenomenon: I Am My Own Twin.


Thanks: Ernesto Longa.

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