Robert writes eclectic and informative articles about a variety of historical subjects including unusual events and people.
This hub discusses the weirder side of being a twin. There are a lot of things I bet you never new about twins.
Identical Twins Aren't Really Identical
Identical twins come from a single fertilized egg, and are physically identical. However, scientists have long known that identical twins do not develop the same genetically inherited diseases, though one would expect that each identical twin would have inherited the same genetic characteristics. It was thought that the different outcomes were due to environmental factors: perhaps one twin ate slightly better diet, or did not smoke. But scientists have now discovered that while identical twins are almost identical genetically, they are not completely identical. Subtle genetic mutations occur from the time of conception, while the twins are still in the womb, which render the twins ever so slightly different. These subtle genetic differences can make a huge difference in how the twins will develop as they age, what diseases they will suffer, what talents they will develop and even their personalities.
Scientists are now focusing on these slight genetic differences which exist within sets of identical twins to help identify the exact genes which cause a particular disease. The idea is that if one twin develops a condition, while the other doesn't, the genes that are not identical must be the cause.
Evil Twins Aren't Just in Movies
Hackers are setting up phoney wi-fi hotspots near a commercial wireless access point such as a in a hotel, coffee shop or airport, and giving it the same name as the real wireless connection. Unsuspecting travellers then log on to the "evil twin" wireless network which logs all of their internet activity and intercepts any passwords they use to log on to bank accounts or email accounts. The hackers can use the information gathered by the evil twin to steal your identity or break into your online banking account.
Twins Can Be Identical, Fraternal or Semi-Identical
Most of us know that twins can be identical twins (which means that the twins all grew from single egg fertilized by the same sperm cell) or fraternal (which means that more than one egg was fertilized by different sperm cells) but now scientists have discovered an extremely rare type of twin: the semi-identical twin.
Semi-identical twins are created when two or more sperm cells fertilize one egg and then split into different embryos. The result is that the twins have exactly the same genetic material from their mother, but different genetic material from their father. Some DNA from each sperm is present throughout both twins.
The Boy Who Gave Birth To His Twin
Some People Give Birth to Their Own Twins
Sometimes things go horribly wrong and one twin fetus gets absorbed or trapped inside its larger twin brother or sister. These unsuccessful twins do not always die; although they will never be born, they survive by forming an umbilical cord-like structure that taps into the blood supply of the full grown twin.
Sometimes these parastic twins are obvious: for example, a twin may be born with an extra set of malformed legs or a second head belonging to the unsuccessful twin. However, there have been rare cases in which the malformed twin continued to grow within a body cavity of the larger twin, as a kind of false pregnancy.
In one case, a 36 year old Indian villager was rushed to hospital with what doctors thought was a large tumour. His stomach was severely swollen and distended. When doctors operated they discovered a very large twin growing within his stomach. The man had been carrying his unborn brother for the past 36 years.
You Have a Google Twin
Even if you don't have a twin brother or sister, chances are that you have a Google Twin.
A Google Twin or Googleganger (sort of like a doppelgänger) is the person or persons that share your name. When you do a vanity google search (see Ego Surf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egosurfing ) to determine, what people on the net have to say about you, you come across information about your namesake. Some people have become obsessed (to the point of cyber-stalking) about their Google Twin, and their lives.
Twins Who Kill
In movies, one twin will always be evil. Superheroes always have an evil twin that they know nothing about; this twin will often have anti-powers that cancel out the good super hero twin's powers, but the good twin will always win. If you meet your double from a parallel universe your twin will always try to kill you and take your place - just ask Captain Kirk.
Felicity on June 28, 2011:
Ashton Kuycher is a twin
Stacey on November 20, 2010:
Great article! I think it should be said that now that you're having twins you should look for twin groups on the net, facebook or in your area. There are also a lot of stores out there that cater to multiples. I found one called www.Stuff4Multiples.com. They give discounts for parents of multiples on everything from cribs to blankets! They also had a facebook page with lots of advice and tips... G-d knows we need some type of support group.lol
Alelie on November 01, 2010:
No twin for me. just myself.
Sinfonie on December 10, 2009:
There's also another form on Twinning called "superfecundation" which is fraternal twins conceived by different fathers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfecundation
DarleneMarie from USA on January 14, 2009:
Very interesting Hub! The cyber-stalking of Google Twins piece gives me the creeps.
SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on October 22, 2008:
I googled myself once and found out there were a couple of newspaper editors with my name. There as also a children's book writer with my name, and for the longest time some kids kept asking me if I wrote that book. I had to say no, this person is just my namesake. Very interesting hub.