My unborn brother's son
There isn't a scientific BULLSHIT area, so I thought I'd post this crazy ass story here:
A Washington couple took a paternity test for their child. The man wasn’t the father. His unborn twin was
Yanan Wang, Washington Post | October 30, 2015 | Last Updated: Oct 30 5:19 PM ET
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The Washington state couple (whose names have been withheld for privacy reasons) initially thought that their child, conceived in vitro, had been created with a stranger’s sperm.
What else could explain their discovery last year that their newborn son’s blood type didn’t match either of theirs? Or the subsequent paternity test confirming that the man of the pair was not the child’s biological father? The mother became pregnant through artificial insemination, so it only made sense that the fertility clinic had made a terrible mistake and used the wrong sperm sample.
Except staff at the clinic told them that the 34-year-old father was the only white man who had donated sperm at the facility on the day the child, who appears white, was conceived, Buzzfeed reports.
In some ways, though, the couple was right. Their child did bear the DNA of another man — but he wasn’t quite a stranger, at least in biological terms.
If it was a parent-child relationship, you would see 50 per cent of the DNA related. If it is an uncle to a niece or nephew, it’s 25 per cent related. This man and his son are 25 per cent related
The DNA matched that of the man’s unborn twin, essentially making the man the biological uncle of his own wife’s child.
The couple was understandably confused when they received this explanation from genetic testing company 23andMe and Barry Starr, a Stanford University geneticist who runs the “Ask a Geneticist” blog on which the new parents first posed their query.
The familial definitions are a matter of genetic makeup. Starr told TIME: “It just leapt out at me: uncle. If it was a parent-child relationship, you would see 50 per cent of the DNA related. If it is an uncle to a niece or nephew, it’s 25 per cent related. This man and his son are 25 per cent related.”
According to Starr’s research into the matter, the baby’s mysterious origins are a product of the genetic phenomenon of “chimerism,” in which one fetus that dies early in pregnancy is subsequently “absorbed” by the remaining sibling. This process, called “vanishing twin phenomenon,” is believed to be much more common than people think: a 1998 study found that one out of every eight single births begins as a twin or other multiple at conception.
The vanishing twin effect occurs when, instead of producing twins, two zygotes fuse into one. Starr believes that this is what happened to the Washington man, who ostensibly absorbed some of his fraternal twin’s cells while in the womb, becoming a “chimera” — a spectral blend — of himself and his unborn brother.