Jeff Craig, Cerebral Palsy, Craig discussed on Science Friction

Science Friction
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

And they hypothesis? It proved true. Yes, they found that there was a difference in a few hundred locations around the genome that made identical twins different from fraternal twins and from singletons. So something on top of the genes was acting as a memory of splitting. As if they were sort of a signature in the epigenetics of identical twins. Yes. Yes, and they in their own study. They actually had the idea. Oh, could we do a signature test of identical twins? And they showed through some clever mathematics that within their sample that you could roughly estimate where someone was identical or fraternal or not. We still don't know if this epigenetic signature of identical twins is a cause or a consequence of the exploiting event. But these are the questions that researchers are now beginning to ask. And this test they've created, it wouldn't just apply to twins. Because it's possible that anyone could have been an identical twin at some point in their development. We think that up to 9 tenths of twin pregnancies in 9 out of ten cases, one of the twins disappears in early development. This is so called vanishing twin syndrome. Yes, it's called vanishing twin syndrome. And it's difficult to actually put a figure, but the best estimate at the moment is this happens in 9 out of ten twin pregnancies identical to improves, which means for every twin Bond, there's another 9 singletons out there that never knew they were a twin. So people like me who used to have dreams that there was another me in the bed line beside him when I was in childhood I used to have this recurring dream. I could test yeah, I could test this idea that maybe it was all just weird dreams or maybe I had a distant memory that I shared the room with a twin. So if I took such a test and if it was proven to work, then I could test that my own hypothesis that I was after conception, I was part of an identical twin. And I think it would be academically interesting to just know how many vanished co twins there are out there. While Jeff Craig says that tests like this one which involve multiple genes are never a 100% accurate. He thinks that a test of decent quality could be available to the public within 5 to ten years. And it's not just personal or academic interest at stake here. It could be some medical implications, too. We know that some developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy. Higher risk of cerebral palsy if you're a twin. So in the future, if there's a reliable test for identical twinning, it could be something that's done at birth to tell whether you're at higher risk for a condition like cell palsy. And finally, doctor Craig knew this question of the splitting that's at the core of what makes and creates identical twins. Do you think there will be more research into this area? Is there at least a current of interest that will mean it's something that researchers continue to look at? Yes, I've been part of discussions on this, and it is the researchers ask scratching their heads and they're taking input from different researchers and so what should we do next? What's our next plan? And so definitely there's definitely a momentum now. And as it's been published, there will be other twin researchers around the world with their own ideas. I guess everyone like everyone likes a good mystery. It's great to have a long-standing mystery slowly unraveled. All right, ready, got your broadcast voice on. No, but I'm gonna try. All right. So nervous. Our thanks go to Jeff Craig, Professor of epigenetics and cell biology at deakin university school of medicine. Jif's also the deputy director of twins research Australia. You can follow him on Twitter at doctor chromo. Jeff and twins research Australia are always looking for twins interested in joining upcoming twin studies. You can find out more at twins dot org. Perfect. Joe winner is our brilliant script editor, engineering by Matthew sigley. Given that today's episode is a family affair, thanks.

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