Thursday, June 12, 2014

Kodinhi - The Twin Town in Kerala

Kodinhi - The Twin Town in Malappuram district of Kerala
Kodinhi, popularly known as The Twin Town is a small village in the district of Malappuram in Kerala, India. The village comes under the administration of Nannambra panchayat. It is surrounded by water bodies on all sides except one through which it connects to the nearest town of Tirurangadi. Researchers and tourists can reach the remote tropical village from the Calicut airport in about two hours of journey. Kodinhi is located 35 km south of Calicut. The village has about 2000 families, majority of which are Sunni Muslims who normally follow the Shafi school of thought.

A pair of twins in Kodinhi - The Twin Town

A pair of Kondinhi twins

Kodinhi attracted worldwide attention when people came to know about the unusually high rate of twin birth in the village. Its absolutely amazing to know the fact that India has one of the lowest twin rate, while Kodinhi has one of the highest twin rate in the world. The village has witnessed birth of twins almost six times more than the global average. This has left the expert investigators in dilemma. The investigators are absolutely clueless about the high concentration of twins in the village.

A group of adolescent twins in Kodinhi

Five pairs of twins in Kodinhi
Successive surveys reveal that there are about 204 pairs of twins and two triplets in Kodinhi. Several studies has been conducted on this phenomenon but a perfect justification is still wanted. There are records of twins to females of the village who were married of even to distant places. On Sunday, November 10, 2008, a national scientific team of Geneticists arrived the village to study the enigmatic phenomenon. G. R. Chandak (Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad), Kaumudi Godbole (Centre for Human Growth and Development, Pune) and other Consultant Genetic Pediatricians (Deenanath Mangeshkar and King Edward Memorial Hospitals, Pune) analyzed more than a dozen of twins. They studied their food habits, medicare, heredity, climate and parents including a wide range of other factors.

A large group of twins in Kodinhi

Dr Krishnan Sribiju a local doctor and himself a twin has been studying the phenomenon for the last six to seven years. The residents say that this phenomenon is recent and has been occurring since three generations only. The oldest twin pair as reported was born in 1949. According to the doctor, the twin phenomenon can be categorized as a natural anomaly instead of a genetic mutation. Kodinhi has 45 twin births out of every 1000 births, while India (including Asia) has a rate of 4 twin births out of every 1000 births. Survey reveals that rate of twin birth in Kodinhi is increasing every year. In last five years more than 60 twins have been born, and it seems that the number of twins has doubled since the last decade.

A group of twins in Kodinhi

Kondinhi Twins
In the western countries, twin rates has increased due to artificial insemination, but there is no artificial insemination (IVF) in Kodinhi. It is also believed that twins are normally born to more mature women over 5ft 3in in height, but Kodinhi girls are normally married when they reach 18 – 20 years, and the average height of women in the village is 5ft. The majority of twins in Kodinhi are identical twins of same sex. Considering the fact that a large percentage of the twins are in their adolescence, the possibility for mischief is enormous. The mischievous students may sometimes swap their classes, while the teachers usually mix them up.

A pair of mature twins in Kodinhi

During the end of 2008, the residents of the village set up Twins and Kin Association (TAKA) to register and provide support (such as education and healthcare) for the twins of Kodinhi and their families under the president-ship of Puallani Bhaskaran, who is a proud father of twin boys. This is the first organization of its kind in India.

One of the elderly twins in Kondinhi

The twin phenomenon in Kodinhi is not unique as it has also been reported in Igbo-Ora in Nigeria. Igbo-Ora has the highest rate of twin births in the whole world. As per a study conducted by an English gynaecologist, Patrick Nylander, an average of 45 to 50 pairs of twins per 1000 live births were recorded during 1972 and 1982 in Igbo-Ora. Researches carried out by the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital indicated that twin births were related to the eating habits of Igbo-Ora women. However, the dietary habits of the residents of Kodinhi is similar other Keralites and no such inferences could be drawn. In Candidi Godoi, Brazil large number of twin births has been reported.

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