Do Identical Twins Have the Same DNA?

Identical Twins

Identical twins are particularly interesting from a genetic standpoint because their physical characteristics are precisely the same. This leads many people to wonder if twins share the same DNA.

Identical Twins and DNA

Identical twins develop from a single sperm and egg combination. For reasons that scientists cannot yet explain, the zygote formed by the sperm and egg divides in two, resulting in the development of two fetuses. All babies receive 23 chromosomes from their father and an additional 23 chromosomes from their mother. When twins are identical, their DNA is also identical.

DNA and Crime Solving

The identical DNA that twins share makes it extremely difficult to differentiate between the two. In fact, this often proves to be a sticky problem for criminal investigators, who rely on DNA evidence as proof of a crime. Several criminal cases have been cast into doubt when it is impossible to prove which identical twin was involved in a crime and which was innocent.

Subtle Differences

Although identical twins are nearly exactly alike, right down to their DNA, they may have some differentiations. Most of these occur through environmental factors. For instance, one twin may be scarred in a car accident while another puts on a great deal of weight thanks to an unhealthy lifestyle. However, epigenetic factors may also come into play.

Epigenetic Factors

As people age, the chemical makeup of their DNA changes. Some of these changes account for differences between twins in temperament and personality. If science was able to look for these chemical alterations, then it would be possible to distinguish one twin from the other at the level of DNA. These tests are still in development, and their viability would represent an enormous scientific leap forward.

ARCpoint Labs of Independence offers accurate, confidential twin DNA testing. To learn more, contact ARCpoint Labs of Independence today at (816) 379-3197.

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