A man has failed a paternity test, because his unborn twin had actually fathered his child, a perplexing report has shown.
It all began in July 2014, when a child was born after several fertility treatments, carried out by a couple who has demanded for their identity to remain anonymous.
During a routine medical examination where the infant’s blood type was identified, it was discovered that it was actually different from that of his parents. The couple felt extremely disconcerted upon receiving this news, so they bought an at-home paternity test.
That is how they grew even more alarmed, upon finding out that the son’s DNA didn’t match his father’s. The same results were obtained when conducting further tests at an accredited lab.
The initial supposition was that the in vitro fertilization clinic may have committed a medical error, by using the wrong sperm sample, from another donor.
However, the fertility center insisted that no such mistake had occurred since the man had been the only white patient who had donated sperm when his wife was artificially inseminated, and the child was obviously Caucasian.
Following this response, the befuddled couple contacted Stanford University geneticist Barry Starr. The expert advised them to take a DNA ancestry test provided by genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe.
That is how it was determined that in fact the man only had a 10% match with his son. It was also discovered that the genes found in the father’s saliva were actually entirely different from the ones found in his sperm.
Eventually, it was concluded that the man was actually his son’s uncle, due to a strange case of human chimera. This happens when the genes from a twin lost during early pregnancy are absorbed by the surviving fetus, resulting in a single organism with genetically distinct cells.
During the artificial insemination process, the samples originated actually from that unborn twin, and that is why the paternity test had a negative result.
According to Starr, there were further signs pointing to this phenomenon, such as the fact that the father’s skin tone was actually in 2 hues, with light and dark strips.
“Human chimerism is very common, but exquisitely difficult to identify, coming to light almost exclusively by accidents like this”, declared biologist Charles Boklage, of East Carolina University.
It has been estimated that around 1 in 8 single births actually commence as multiple pregnancies, and in some occasions of this sort the surviving fetus acquires extra genes from his miscarried sibling. In fact, although such cases might be extraordinary, other instances have been reported.
For example, a 52-year old woman, who suffered from renal failure and required a kidney transplant, underwent histocompatibility testing with her family, and discovered that she wasn’t in fact the biological mother of two of her sons.
It was established that this was also a situation where chimerism had occurred, since there were separate sets of genes in the woman’s ovaries and blood cells. The actual genetic mother had been the woman’s unborn twin, but this situation would’ve passed entirely undetected without this medical emergency.
Actually, according to experts, instances of chemism could become more prevalent in the future, as more people resort to artificial insemination, which is more likely to result in multiple pregnancy.
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