Twin Mixes Becoming More Prominent

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on October 15, 2011

Daily Mail: “The science behind our amazing twins - one black, one whiteTwin mixes are on the rise in the U.K.

The BBC recently aired a documentary, Twincredibles, following the stories of five families with fraternal twins whose skin doesn’t match. Just half a century ago, “mixed twins” were almost unheard of. The number is on the rise, however, as a consequence of the rising percentage of so-called mixed race people in the British population. And as a bonus to this demographic change, population geneticists predict a medical benefit to the gene pool.

Even to refer to these children as “black” and “white” or “mixed race” is a misnomer. As the Bible clearly teaches (and as the Human Genome Project confirms), “There is only one race—the human race.”1 Racial designations are human inventions, and the slurs and prejudices which often accompany them are the products of ignorance and sin.

University of Edinburgh population geneticist Dr. Jim Wilson explains, “There are about 20 genes [from a total of about 20,000] known to control skin and eye colour. In each gene you have a light-skinned variant and a dark-skinned variant. If you have more of the dark-skinned variant in your DNA, you’ll inherit dark skin. If there’s more light-skin variant, you’ll inherit light skin. Since parents contribute 50 per cent of the genes each to an offspring, the first generation born to a mixed-race couple will definitely be midway in colour between the two. But second-generation children are different. If one of the offspring marries a white person, it is possible for them to have a white child because you no longer have 50/50 white and black variants. Where you have one mixed-race parent and one white parent it’s still unlikely for a white baby to be born.”

With fraternal twins, as with any pair of siblings, each child inherits an assortment of genes for skin pigmentation, and the result can be significantly different skin tones.

Likely or not, the twins featured in the article, Kaydon and Layton Wood, are the children of a white father and a mom with Nigerian and white parents. With fraternal twins, as with any pair of siblings, each child inherits an assortment of genes for skin pigmentation, and the result can be significantly different skin tones. Actually, the skin color of all of us is determined primarily by the amount of brown melanin pigment in the skin. Therefore, no one is fully “white” or “black” but just varying shades of brown. The presence of pigment is the dominant feature, so the likelihood of a mixed race couple producing a “white” child is fairly low. Statistically, a couple like the Woods (with one “white” and one “mixed race”) expecting non-identical twins has about a one in 500 chance that the babies will have different skin colors.2

With an increasingly “racially mixed” population, the number of mixed twins is naturally on the rise. The Office of National Statistics now says, “There may be around two million mixed-race people living in the UK – 3 per cent of the population and therefore a larger group than any of the defined ethnic minorities.”3

Sadly, many orphaned children have been denied adoption due to social policies prohibiting mixed “race” adoptions. Hopefully, those policies will be changing.

On a happier note, Dr. Jim Wilson points out that the increasingly mixed population could decrease the incidence of several inherited diseases that, along with skin color, have accumulated in certain segments of the population. Cystic fibrosis is common only among white people, and it along with a number of other genetically related illnesses should decrease in the population if trends continue.

The Bible teaches that all people are descended from Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had an assortment of the “skin color genes” which get reshuffled in every person conceived and produce all the skin tones we see. When the descendants of Noah were dispersed from the tower of Babel into smaller groups, the limited genetic variability available in each group eventually resulted in people groups with a preponderance of particular skin tones.

While other features such as hair and eye color are sometimes also found as dominant features in certain people groups, neither the mental capacity nor the spiritual condition of such people groups differ in the sight of God. All so-called races of people are blessed with the wonderful potential God has granted human beings to learn and achieve great things. And all so-called races are sinners in the sight of God and blessed to have the grace of God through Jesus Christ freely available to them. God is no respecter of persons on the basis of skin color or intellect, but He promises to see every person in terms of his relationship with Jesus Christ. Read more about salvation though Christ at Good News.


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Footnotes

  1. It’s Not Just Black & White
  2. www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14885513
  3. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2046197/British-population-Are-mixed-race-people-Britains-biggest-ethnic-minority.html

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.