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Biotech Science

Semi-Identical Twins Discovered 224

daftna writes in with a story from Nature about a pair of twins who are neither identical nor fraternal: they are semi-identical. Researchers discovered twins who share all of their mother's DNA but only half of their father's. Both children are chimeras — their cells are not genetically uniform, but include a mix of genes from two separate sperm cells that fertilized a single egg. This is, apparently, not as rare as one might think; but the resulting fetus is rarely viable. This report marks the first known incidence of two half-identical twins resulting from a double fertilization.
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Semi-Identical Twins Discovered

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  • Serious question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @08:16PM (#18509781)
    How is this interesting? What are the implications?

    (I'm sure it is, it just seems.. moot to me).
  • by gcnaddict ( 841664 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @08:36PM (#18509935)
    Hate to be the party pooper, but do you have a link?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:47PM (#18510821)
    > This is just another example of the far left trying to discredit intelligent design

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @12:16AM (#18511395)
    but no personal life or even ability to enter either public restroom without people looking at you dubiously.

    I dunno about you, but when I go to the restroom, people usually don't see my weenie. And there's always the stalls to do your business, you know. Furthermore, if people really want this sort of thing "corrected", there are surgical procedures and drugs to make anyone clearly male or clearly female. As for medical risks, most people who are chimeras never seem to find out anyway.
  • by Ravon Rodriguez ( 1074038 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @01:52AM (#18511891)
    Turning water into wine, walking on water, bringing the dead back to life... and It's the translation of the word "virgin" that you have a problem with?
  • On intersexuality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asninn ( 1071320 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @04:17AM (#18512609)

    Imagine living a life where you are called "a very special and wonderful person", but no personal life or even ability to enter either public restroom without people looking at you dubiously.

    Do you really think that this is the biggest problem intersexual people will ever face in their life? If yes, you seriously need to read up on these things a bit.

    First of all, as a disclaimer, I'm not intersexual myself, but I'm interested in inter- and transsexuality and know a couple of people who are. Most of the intersexuals I know had a gender surgically assigned to them after birth, too (female, FWIW; as doctors say, "it's easier to dig a hole than build a pole"). But you know what? Neither of them is happy.

    In fact, the *exact opposite* is true. *Every single* intersexual I've talked to or heard about has said the same thing so far - that doing so is, essentially, butchering, a traumatic experience that will haunt you for your entire life. Even in these times where sexual reassignmet surgery is not impossible anymore, the results are far inferior to anything that nature came up with (if you can even afford the whole procedure!), and the psychological problems associated with having your body mutilated after birth are just as serious.

    What really needs to be done when an intersexual child is born is really easy: bloody leave them alone. The child will eventually grow up and be able to make their own decisions; if they decide then that they really belong to one gender, it's not too late to do surgery etc.. What's more, it might well be that the child decides that they're really male - contrary to popular opinion, "intersexual" and "transsexual" do not mean "a guy who wants to become a chick".

    But there's also a decent chance that the child will say "I'm happy the way I am", and who's to say that that's not within their rights? If the only reason you can come up with is that there might be confusion over which restroom is appropriate, well... I'm sorry, but that isn't quite enough.

    What's more, when you're talking about things like restroom usage, you make a very fundamental mistake: you look at what other people and society in general will see the child as, rather than what the child themselves thinks. But it's the child who will have to live with their body; the idea that society has a right to say "you don't fit into our binary system, so we'll cut up your body and then pretend that you do (even though you really still don't)" is outrageous.

    FWIW, BTW, another fundamental mistake that's often being made is the assumption that it's even possible to reassign gender - that is, the actual gender that someone identifies as, as opposed to their physical sex. One of the reasons why intersexual people were mutilated in the past and raised as girls is that doctors (wrongly) believed that if you just cut off everything that was non-girly and if you just put the child into a dress and told them they were female, they'd really believe it and grow up as a normal, well-adjusted *woman* - but in reality, it doesn't work, and never has.

    Of course, I do understand that there are no ulterior motives - doctors, parents etc. really are trying to help intersexual children. But it's also important to realise that it's not working and that the only thing you're doing is CAUSING harm, not preventing it.

    So, although this has little do to anymore with the original TFA, just let me say this: leave intersexual children alone, and let them make their own decisions when they're old enough. Until then, be tolerant, be honest, explain to them why they're different, and explain that it doesn't make them worth less or anything like that. That's the ONLY way you can actually help them.

  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:41AM (#18512991)
    The problem is, how do you shatter absolutism in the minds of people? it is a proven fact that nature is not black and white, and there are many shades and colors in between. But most humans can not live comfortably in the chaos that nature is, preferring order in the form of binary systems: good and evil, male and female, white and black, cold and hot etc.

  • by countach ( 534280 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @08:25AM (#18513715)
    No, we're talking about one child with 50% of Suzie, 25% Joe and 25% Steve.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak