Biracial twins born to an interracial couple in Illinois have different skin colors. The sisters are attracting a lot of attention in their native Quincy in Illinois because they are so different in appearance that it is difficult to believe that they are twins.
Biracial twin sisters Kalani and Jarani Dean were born to Whitney Meyer, 25, and her boyfriend Tomas Dean on April 23, 2016. Whitney is Caucasian, while her boyfriend Tomas is an African-American. Jarani is the darker of the infant sisters. She takes after her African-American father, Tomas. Kalani, the lighter, takes after her Caucasian mother, Whitney.
A photo of the twins that their mother Whitney uploaded to the Facebook page of the news site KHQA on Monday, went viral immediately, with hundreds of Facebook users expressing amazement at the sight of twins — one black, the other white.
Whitney said that when she takes her infant daughters out dressed in identical outfits, people are unable to believe that they are twins.
Could they be any cuter? https://t.co/wnTGuPoaVi
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“No one believes they’re twins,” Whitney said, according to Us Weekly. “When we go out in public, people will start looking at them because I dress them identical and I can tell they’re confused.”
Whitney was also very surprised when she first saw her daughters after birth.
“I asked the doctor why Kalani’s skin was so white!” She said. “I couldn’t figure out why she looked so different than her sister.”
“It’s so rare I didn’t think it’d happen to my twins! But sure enough they’re biracial twins!”
She told People then when she first saw Kalani she thought she had albinism because she was so white-skinned.
“I kept thinking she would get color [darken] but she didn’t,” she said.
Whitney gave birth to the twins two years after she lost her two-year-old son Prayvn to drowning. The darker-skinned twin Jarani looks exactly like her late brother Pravyn.
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“They are my miracle babies,” Whitney said. “J looks exactly like her brother did. They are identical. When I look at pictures of J, I see Pravyn.”
Kalani and Jarani also have an older brother, seven-year-old Talan. But Talan is Caucasian. He has a different father who is Caucasian.
“He (Talan) is the best big brother, ” the proud mother said. “He doesn’t see any difference in the girls. He’s totally colorblind.”
“People in this country could learn a lot from my son. He’s so innocent. He doesn’t understand racial tensions, because to him it doesn’t matter, as it shouldn’t matter to anyone else,” she added.
The nine-month-old sisters are fraternal twins, which means they were formed from two different eggs fertilized by different sperm cells. This explains why, unlike identical twins, they have different skin colors and physical appearances.
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Adorable biracial twins are example of biological rarity https://t.co/jD9F7p1sFr
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Human skin color is determined by about 20 gene variants or alleles. The genes control how much of the skin pigment melanin is produced. The process of combining the genes during formation of a zygote involves randomness. Thus, according to experts, there is a one in 500 chances that fraternal twins born to an interracial couple – black African descent v. European descent — will have noticeably different skin colors, according to the BBC.
Because the incidence of twins with different skin colors born to interracial couples is very low (one in 500 chances), the phenomenon is unknown to most people. But with the increasing incidence of interracial marriages between people of black African descent and people of European descent, more cases are emerging and media attention is making it better known.
However, Dr. Nancy L. Segal, director of Twin Studies Center at California State University, said that the figure of one in 500 chances for biracial twins is only a rough estimate because researchers really don’t know exactly how often it occurs.
“We don’t know how often it happens because not all cases come to our attention,” she told People. “I imagine it’s going to happen more frequently now that we have more mixed marriages.”
Despite the marked difference in the skin tones of biracial twins, genetic testing has revealed that they have the same proportion of African and European genes. Biracial twins born to biracial parents of respectively pure racial descents have 50 percent African and 50 percent European gene admixtures.
Fraternal twins are also often different in other ways besides skin color. According to Whitney, Kalani, the lighter-skinned of the pair, is active and energetic. She is already crawling. But her darker-skinned sister Jarani is quieter and likes to be cuddled and fed. She hasn’t shown any interest in crawling, according to Whitney.
“Kalani is our loud child. She is crawling everywhere and going nonstop,” Whitney told Us Weekly. “J doesn’t like to move. She just wants to be held, and she loves to eat.”
According to Whitney, her “miracle babies” demonstrate “why racism shouldn’t exist.”
“They are different colors, but sisters by blood,” Whitney tells People. “One is light and one is mixed, but we love them the same.”
“This family, we don’t see color,” Whitney concluded. “Love is love.”
[Featured Image by Gelpi/Shutterstock]