This Man Found Out That His Son's Father Was Actually His... Unborn Brother
If you are confused with the headline of this story, it's alright! We here were in similar state of mind after coming across this news.
Regardless, you're still thinking how can someone who wasn't even born father another man's child, right? While it may seem like an impossible thing, it has happened to a man from Washington.
A US man has failed a paternity test after doctors revealed his dead twin, whose DNA the man absorbed in the womb, is the genetic father of the child. The 34-year-old man is the first ever reported case of a paternity test being fooled by a human chimera, someone with extra genes absorbed from a twin lost in early pregnancy.independent.co.uk
Wait, how? HOW?!
According to Buzzfeed, a Washington couple (who have chosen to remain unnamed because of concerns for their privacy and confidentiality of medical records) had a son with the help of fertility clinic procedures. The boy was born healthy, but strangely, his blood type didn’t match that of his parents. An at-home paternity test suggested an explanation: The man wasn’t actually the father of the child.
Concerned that the fertility clinic had made a mistake, the Washington couple approached them with the results of the paternity test. But the fertility clinic said that the 34-year-old father was the only white man to donate sperm at the facility on the day their son was conceived, and the child looked white.
That was when the couple was told to test the father and son with a direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry test. The results of those tests came back late last year. Bizarrely, their results said that the man was his son's uncle.
The father's sperm was found to have 10% of a genetic match to the newborn. The genes in his sperm were different to that in his saliva. It was concluded that the father of the newborn is effectively the 34-year-old man's own vanished twin — another ghost!
If you're wondering how is that possible, it is because it's a case of 'human chimera', someone with 2 genetically distinct types of cells
About 1 in 8 single childbirths are thought to start as multiple pregnancies and occasionally cells from the miscarried siblings are sometimes absorbed in the womb by a surviving twin, but are rarely discovered by surprises such as the paternity-test puzzle.
“Human chimerism is very common, but exquisitely difficult to identify, coming to light almost exclusively by accidents like this,” biologist Charles Boklage of East Carolina University told BuzzFeed News by email.
Even crime and medical dramas such as CSI, Grey's Anatomy, and House: MD, have played with chimerism as a plot device for more than a decade.
However, searches for chimeras are incredibly complicated as the genes only feature in detectable amounts in very few organs.