An unborn twin fathers his brother’s son after a couple sought help from a fertility clinic back in 2014 in order to conceive. What happened became the first known case of what is referred to as a “human chimera”.
The term chimera comes from Greek mythology and refers to a hybrid being which contains in itself parts of two different creatures. However, in this case, the problem revolved around the child’s DNA and was brought to light after the happy couple became parents and discovered that the child’s blood type did not match their own.
It was at first assumed by the couple that the fertility clinic that had helped them get pregnant had made a mistake and had perhaps used the wrong sperm. After reassurance from the clinic that this was not the case, the parents decided to hire a lawyer and under-went paternity tests both on their own, at home, and in an accredited lab.
To the parent’s surprise, both tests showed that the father’s DNA did not match the son’s and at the advice of an expert geneticist, the two also opted for a genetic ancestry test that would examine hundreds of thousands of genetic markers as opposed to the fifteen an ordinary paternity test would have done.
After this elaborate ancestry test was conducted the confusion was revealed to have been caused by the first documented case of human chimera in regards to the results to a paternity test.
In this case the man’s semen (which was tested for the genetic ancestry test) contained a different set of genes than his saliva (used for the previous paternity tests). It seems that the father had absorbed the genes of an unborn twin that had been lost in the womb and that those genes had been used to conceive his son.
There was a ten percent match between the genes in the man’s sperm and those of his newborn child but there was no such match with the ones in his saliva. Apparently the genetic material his son did inherit was also that of his unborn brother.
In what you could call one of life’s paradoxes, this child’s father is actually his unborn uncle and the father that is going to raise him is, biologically speaking, more of an uncle than a dad. Although there have been reported cases of maternal chimera, this is the first time such a confusion is created due to a father’s ghost genes.
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