One Twin's White, the Other's Black

ByABC News via GMA logo
April 6, 2006, 3:06 PM

April 7, 2006 — -- Kian and Remee Hodgson are British fraternal twins who are about to celebrate their first birthday.

There's a twist, though. Kian has the genes from the Jamaican-Caribbean side of the family. With dark skin, hair and eyes, she looks black. Remee has light skin, blond hair and blue eyes, and looks white.

It's a genetic fluke because the twins' parents are biracial -- Kylee Hodgson, 19, and Remi Horder, 17, have white mothers and black fathers. Experts estimate that there is a one in a million chance of one black and one white twin being born to biracial parents.

"It's not truly a pure black parent with a pure white parent. You had both parents who are already mixed racially so that when they go back together you can get both extremes," said Dr. Steven Goldstein, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University Medical Center.

Mixed-race people have genetic codes for both light and dark skin in their genes. Usually, each sperm and egg cell contains genes of both races. In rare cases, an egg or sperm cell may possess coding for just one skin color.

What makes the odds astronomical is that to get a black twin and a white twin, there have to be four of these rare single-race sperm and egg cells, and then the "black" and "white" eggs have to be fertilized by the sperm cell of the same "color."

That's just what happened inside Hodgson's womb.

Hodgson said that when she first saw the twins, she didn't notice their different skin colors because she was more concerned about checking their fingers and ears.

When pictures of the twins began to circulate, other people noticed right away -- including the British press.

"They just can't understand why they're different, but to me they're not. They're just the same, mixed, biracial children," Horder said.

"To some people it's like, 'I told you so. That's why they shouldn't mix because things like this happen.' But then to some people, it's a good thing," Hodgson said.

The twins' parents believe that their little girls are an example of how the color of your skin can mean very little about a person.

"It's like a poke in the eye to racism at the end of the day for me," Horder said. "That's what I think it is."