LONDON—A mixed-race British couple has defied the odds—twice—by producing two sets of twins in which one sibling appears to be black and the other white.
Dean Durrant’s newborn daughter, Miya, has dark skin like him.
Twin sister, Leah, has fair skin like her blue-eyed, red-haired mother, Alison Spooner.
Their older siblings Lauren and Hayleigh, born in 2001, also have strikingly different skin tones and eye colours.
Both sets of twins are fraternal rather than identical, meaning they are the product of two separately-fertilized eggs, so it is not unusual that they don’t look alike.
But scientists say it’s rare for a couple to have two sets of twins—and even rarer for them to have such different appearances.
“Even non-identical twins aren’t that common,” Dr. Sarah Jarvis, of Britain’s Royal College of General Practitioners, told Sky News.
“Non-identical twins from mixed parents, of different races, less common still,” she added. “To have two eggs fertilized and come out different colours, less common still.
“So, to have it happen twice must be one in millions.”
The phenomenon is so uncommon that there are no statistics to illustrate its probability, although it’s thought likely to become more common because of the growing number of mixed-race couples.
The twins were born prematurely in November in Frimley, southern England, and spent several weeks in the hospital. They now are at home with their parents in Fleet, 65 km southwest of London.
“There’s no easy way to explain it all. I’m still in shock myself,” Durrant, 33, told Sky News last week.