The uncovering of a woman confirmed to be both her daughter's mother and uncle has stunned people in the medical industry.
Human "chimeras", who are people who possess DNA from more than one embryo, are seemingly more common than once thought.
Juan Yunis, a pioneer of DNA testing in Colombia, said experts are not sure on how often this medical anomaly occurs.
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He said: “What is the frequency of this? We don’t really know."
After stating that there are about 20 confirmed cases are documented, he said: “Probably there are more. And it can have a profound effect on one’s life.”
Chimerism can occur when genes from a “vanishing twin” end up mixed in with those of a surviving sibling.
Yunis reignited conversations regarding chimerism when presenting a case at the International Symposium on Human Identification in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.
Initially beginning with a paternity test on a young girl, the birth mother had her blood sampled and it was surprisingly tested as male.
It was at that juncture that Yunis said: “Somebody made a mistake, there’s contamination in the lab, stop everything."
However, a mistake was not made as identical results was produced when Yunis' team repeated the tests.
The alleged father passed the paternity test of the young girl when the mother was taken out of the test, while the other male genes in the result disappeared.
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Yunis' previous work with a 52-year-old woman named Karen Keegan, whose genetic testing for a kidney transplant had revealed she was a “tetragametic” chimera.
Keegan's genes were a mixture from four egg and sperm cells instead of the normal two after two fertilized eggs had fused together when her mother was pregnant with her.
The appearance of the Y chromosome from a lost twin and other chimeric genes was the key in confusing the paternity test result.
Robert Wenk, a genetic pathologist said: “The child’s mother is a natural chimera. One twin (a male) fused with the other (female) twin and disappeared early in pregnancy.”
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