Researcher: Identical twins not identical

March 31, 2011 at 7:36 AM
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LONDON, Ontario, March 31 (UPI) -- Identical twins are not truly identical, a Canadian molecular geneticist at the University of Western Ontario in London says.

Dr. Shiva Singh said he made the discovery while studying schizophrenia and its relationship with heredity, Postmedia News reported.

"Our results have really forced everyone to rethink the idea that identical twins are actually identical," he said. "So this finding could be really revolutionary."

The accidental discovery came after Singh and fellow researchers sequenced the DNA of twins and their parents and found at least 1 million differences, the report said.

Singh said the number of genetic differences in twins appears to expand with age, although he didn't say whether the pair begin life as identical.

"The genome is very dynamic, not static. What you got from your parents is not what you have in the end," he said. "There is more to the story than that."

The findings could have major ramifications across the scientific spectrum, as identical twins have long been used in studies with one being a control subject and the other the variable. Singh said the new findings means both twins would have to be considered variables.

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