The Short of It
Even though one of the definitions for the word "twin" is "closely resembling each other," the truth is that fraternal, or non-identical, twins are far more common than identical twins. Fraternal twins can differ from each other in every possible way, especially if they have parents from two different races. That's what happened to UK twins, Lucy and Maria Aylmer.
In 1997, Donna Aylmer of Gloucester gave birth to twin girls, Lucy and Maria. Donna is half-Jamaican, and the girls' father, Vince, is Caucasian. Lucy says their mother was shocked when she was presented with one twin with straight ginger hair, a fair complexion and blue eyes and the other twin with black curls, far darker skin and brown eyes. The girls are the complete physical opposites of each other—two perfectly healthy babies that looked absolutely nothing alike.
"It was such a shock for her because things like skin colour don't show up on scans before birth. So she had no idea that we were so different. When the midwife handed us both to her, she was just speechless," Lucy told the UK's Daily Mail.
The twins have three older siblings, and they all have skin coloring lighter than Maria but darker than Lucy. The twins even have completely different personalities: Lucy is a shy artist, and Maria is an outgoing law student. Lucy says most people don't believe them when they say they're twins, and swapping identities to play jokes on teachers and classmates was never an option for them when they were growing up.
How does this happen? Well, non-identical twins come from two separate eggs, so they inherit different genes. Donna, the girls' mother, is half-Jamaican and carries genes for both white and black skin. So, one twin inherited the gene for white skin while the other inherited the gene for black skin.
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