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April 28, 2016 05:25 PM

New Research Offers Insight On Fraternal Twins

Sioux Falls, SD

Sadie and Brandon Bell say they were shocked when they found out they would become parents to twins.

"We had no idea that was on the table for us," Sadie Bell said.
 
Now, researchers in Sioux Falls say they may have discovered why mothers give birth to fraternal twins like Brinkley and Briggs.

"Ever since the beginning of the twin registry and the collection of DNA from these twins the goal has been to find 'Is there a gene for twinning?'" Avera Institute for Human Genetics Chief Scientific Officer Gareth Davies said.

Gareth Davies is referring to the Netherlands Twin Registry. The Avera Institute for Human Genetics studies the DNA of the twins in the registry. Davies says the new findings link two particular genes with a woman's likelihood of giving birth to fraternal twins.

"We're lucky and very fortunate to publish that work in the American Journal of Human Genetics showing that there are two genes specifically involved in fraternal twins," Davies said.

Davies calls the research exciting and something that could put Sioux Falls on the map.

"Fraternal twins, anecdotally, we know that fraternal twins run in families, but no one's actually proved that it's genetically fact; that there is two genes so far that we find are playing a major role in having fraternal twins," Davies said.

Now, researchers may have more insight into families like the Bell family.

"We feel blessed that we get to raise them and watch them grow up together. It's so fun to watch them play and interact and share these moments that I know parents with one baby wouldn't be able to observe and be a part of," Bell said.

As more strides are made in the science of twinning, double the memories are being made in the Bell house.
 
The research is also shedding light on poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and fertility in women.
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