“You’re having twins!” This statement is usually met with a mixture of shock, excitement, fear, and love all in one announcement. After the initial wave of emotions has subsided, parents expecting twins shift their interest. Are they going to be identical, or will they look completely different? One mother had the most surprising delivery when her twins came out looking completely different. However, it was not in the way she expected. Her babies were not only born with different sexes, but they had different skin tones too.
Twins born with different skin tones
Chantelle and Ashton Broughton were expecting tins. What they did not anticipate was their appearance when they were born. The twins were fraternal, which means one is a girl and the other is a boy. But that was not a big surprise. Chantelle said her son, Ayon, was born first. He had pale skin and green eyes. Then, Azirah was born. She had a darker complexion, with beautiful brown eyes. They had completely different skin tones and eye colors. “It was a shock how different they appeared, they’re unique,” Chantelle said in an interview with Nottinghamshire Live.
“Some people said they’d change but I don’t think they will, they are just going to stay the same complexion”, Michelle said. Five months down the line, her words could not have been more true. Except for the fact that Azirah’s complexion got even darker, so their contrast was even greater. She told Nottinghamshire Live, “As time is going on she (Azirah) seems to be getting darker and darker. I think their hair will be different too. The girl will have thick and curly hair and the boy’s will be completely different. You can already feel the difference in texture.”
Their different skin tone is not the only contrast. Their personalities are the furthest thing from similar. “Azirah is really laid back and chilled, whereas Ayon was wants a lot more attention,” said Chantelle. “He always wants to be rocked and is constantly babbling along. Azirah doesn’t do that very often. But, I have noticed they are really staring at each other now and smiling more.”
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Different skin tones, and contrasting personalities
Chantelle and Ashton were two parents who were very surprised by their twin babies. However, the surprise of strangers passing by is hard not to notice. They often get people walking by who cannot help but comment on their difference in appearance. At east she says their reactions have been mostly positive. “People just stop and say ‘oh my god, they just look totally different.’ I’ve had people ask ‘are they both yours‘?” she said. “A lot of elderly ladies stop me and tell me how beautiful it is.“
She also cracked a joke about what people might think when they first see her twins with different skin tones. “I think people are gonna think I’ve had two different kids with two different dads,” laughed Chantelle.
They may have been born with different skin tones, but Chantelle says they are both so happy with their family being the way it is. They love the unique aspect of their babies, and they wouldn’t exchange them for anything. “I wouldn’t have it any other way though, it’s certainly unique.“
How is this possible?
Chantelle says that her babies look different because of their mixed-race family. Her grandfather was Nigerian, and her husband, Ashton, is half Scottish and half Jamaican. Although, there is only a one in 500 chance that twins will be born with different skin tones.
James McInerney is a professor at the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences, as ell as the chair of the biology sector. He gave his explanation for the twins being born with different skin tones. “The twins are not identical (monozygotic) twins. Therefore, they have different genetics – they are as closely related to one another as two siblings,” said the professor. “This means they share 50 percent of their alleles (a specific sequence of DNA). In this case, one twin has been the recipient of several of the alleles that might make his skin a lighter color, while the other twin has been the recipient of several alleles that make her skin a bit darker.”
Professor McInerney went on to say: “There is a major gene that is part of a biochemical pathway that changes the amino acid tyrosine into either eumelanin or phaeomelanin. Eumelanin is darker and brown, while phaeomelanin is lighter and blond/red. Perhaps alleles for this particular gene are involved and this might make the result look more apparent. It probably feels quite unusual because they are twins, but in reality it’s not so unusual.”
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- “Unique miracle twins born with ‘completely different’ coloured skin.” My London. Joseph Locker. Joel Moore. Hannah Cottrell. August 19, 2022.
- “Mixed-race mother whose partner is half-Jamaican is left shocked after having twins with completely different skin tones – and reveals people question if they are both really her children.” Daily Mail. Jessica Tailor. August 19, 2022
- “Mum stunned as twins are born with dramatically different skin tones.” Metro UK. Ellen Scott. August 20, 2022