Q:

What is the difference between paternal and maternal twins?

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Quick Answer

Paternal and maternal twins, commonly known as fraternal and identical twins, are distinguished by the different ways the multiple pregnancy begins. Identical twins begin as a single zygote that splits into two or more developing embryos. Fraternal twins are usually the result of multiple eggs being present for fertilization.

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What is the difference between paternal and maternal twins?
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Full Answer

Because of their common origin, identical twins share a genome and are genetically indistinguishable. Despite this underlying similarity, superficial features such as fingerprints still vary between them. Fraternal twins, arising from separate zygotes with their own unique complement of genes, do not share a genome and are no more closely related to each other than any other siblings.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Can a boy and a girl be identical twins?

    A:

    Rarely, a boy and girl may be identical twins. This condition, called Turner Syndrome, afflicts very few pairs of twins. The gender difference occurs when an egg and a sperm pair that begins as two males, loses a copy of its dominant Y chromosome when it splits.

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  • Q:

    How are non-identical twins made?

    A:

    Nonidentical twins occur when a woman produces two separate eggs that are then fertilized by two different sperm cells. The resulting twins sometimes look alike, but have separate genetic identities, like children of the same parents born during different pregnancies. Another name for nonidentical twins is fraternal twins.

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    What are dizygotic twins?

    A:

    Dizygotic twins, also known as heterologous or fraternal twins, develop when two separate eggs are fertilized at the same time within the uterus. Dizygotic twins do not have identical genetics and can be of the same sex or of the opposite sex.

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  • Q:

    What does "fraternal twins" mean?

    A:

    Fraternal twins, also known as dizygotic twins, occur when two separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm. This results in two babies who are not identical and who do not come from the same egg. Fraternal twins can consist of two girls, two boys or one girl and one boy.

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