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Can DNA Tests Tell Identical Twins Apart?

The twins paradox is an issue in physics, and a problem in DNA testing.

In the physics paradox, one twin zooms into space at light speed and comes back younger than his twin. That's awkward.

In DNA testing, identical twins have the same genetic signature. When it's a question of who's the daddy, that's even more awkward.

DNA Evidence

Forensic DNA testing has been around for decades. Over time, it has become a standard for resolving paternity disputes and identifying criminal suspects.

For testing identical twins, however, not so much. In one 2004 case, for example, Holly Marie Adams won a paternity suit against Raymond Miller for child support using a DNA test.

The problem was that she also had sex with his twin brother. "The results of blood tests performed on the two brothers demonstrated that both had a 99.999 percent probability of being the father," Judge Phillip Garrison wrote.

For hapless twins, the good and the bad news is that DNA is not perfect. But scientists are working on it.

Telling Twins Apart

According to reports, science can now tell twins apart better than their mothers. Advances in DNA sequencing make it possible to see unique mutations in their fertilized eggs.

It's a breakthrough that could solve unsolved cases, like the rape of a Michigan woman in 1999. Using DNA evidence, detectives located a suspect.

The problem, of course, was he had an identical twin. The case has been open for nearly 20 years.

The solution may have finally arrived, like the twin who waited for his brother to come back from space. The twins paradox, it seems, may be solved.

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