Doctors baffled by Indian village of over 200 sets of twins

Tue Aug 4, 2009 11:56pm EDT
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By Arko Datta

KODINJI, India (Reuters Life!) - Walk around Kodinji village and you'll think that you have double vision.

The village is home to as many as 230 sets of twins. Nobody knows why there are so many twins in the village of 15,000 people, although one local doctor suspects it might be due to the water.

In fact with about 35-45 twins per live birth, this village in North Kerala, India, has four times more twins than normal. Not surprisingly, the village has been dubbed "the twin village."

The latest official estimates by the Kodinji's Twins and Kins Association (TAKA), which conducted door-to-door surveys at the start of the year, found that there were 204 sets of twins.

Based on births since the survey was conducted, there are probably now around 230 sets of twins in the village, locals said. That number is set to rise as there are five women pregnant with twins.

"It's an amazing phenomenon to see a medical marvel occurring in such a localized place where the people are not exposed to any kinds of harmful drugs or harmful chemicals. It's a virgin village," said Dr Sribiju, a researcher.

Pathummakutty and Kunhipathutty, 65, are the oldest surviving twins in the village. The youngest are Rifa Ayesha and Ritha Ayesha, born on June 10. Their proud parents already see a slight difference between them as one lies fast asleep, while the other kicks away with a mischievous grin on her face.

Being a twin is not always easy. Pathummakutty, who like many in the village have a single name, recalls how her family struggled financially when she was a child. But she also remember good times such as laughter after yet another mix up with her twin sister.   Continued...

<p>Eleven-year-old twin sisters Rasheena M. (L) and Sameena M. pose for a photograph in Kodinji village in the southern Indian city of Kerala July 28, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta</p>