What it Means to be Identical Twins

Identical twins can be described by two major factors; genetic and environmental. The genetic part of the twin debate involves the definite facts. At the genetic core of identical twins, their DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is exactly the same. DNA is the genetic material that makes up each individual person and is present in every cell of the body, except red blood cells. When a sperm fertilizes an embryo, half the DNA comes from the mother and the other half from the father. As the embryo divides, unlike when one baby is produced, in identical twins it splits completely into two. These two separate parts then divide, resulting in two babies each with the same genetic material. This means that identical twins have exactly the same genes, producing the same characteristics, ranging from the color of their eyes to the length of their little toes.

The other side of the identical twins explanation involves environmental factors which also have a great impact. Studies have previously been carried out into whether a pair of identical twins who live apart during childhood grow up to look and act the same. It was found that environmental factors, such as food and sanitation, mean identical twins can develop very differently, despite their genetic similarities. For example, a twin growing up in an affluent area may become overweight where as a twin living in a less well-off area will not.

Some identical twins claim that they can sense how the other is feeling or thinking, even if they are thousands of miles apart. For example, one twin may be in labor and the other can get sympathy’ pains at exactly the same time without any knowledge of the birth.

There can also be a humorous side to being an identical twin, including fooling others. I have identical twin sisters and when we were younger, people even used to mistake us for triplets. Exciting games for my sisters used to be swapping classes for a lesson, teasing boyfriends on first dates, as well as the general day to day confusion.

Identical twins can also have a very close relationship, which others may find intimidating or intriguing. Personally, as a child I didn’t particularly enjoy being ganged up on by a pair of boisterous little girls, but as adults we couldn’t be closer. Twins are a fascinating phenomenon and growing up with a pair has been a fruitful and fabulous experience.