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 BRAZIL'S TOWN OF TWINS

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PostSubject: BRAZIL'S TOWN OF TWINS   Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:27 am

BRAZIL'S TOWN OF TWINS

80 families, 38 pairs of twins

February 25, 2009


HIGH on a hill behind his family's home, Mr Derli Grimm knelt and sipped from a thin black tube leading from a natural spring.

Like many in this farming town, populated almost entirely by German-speaking immigrants, Grimm, 19, believes that something in the water is responsible for the town's unusual concentration of twins, reported International Herald Tribune.

'It can't all be explained by genetics,' said Grimm, himself a twin.

Geneticists would like to disagree with him, even if they have no complete explanation for the 38 pairs of twins among about 80 families living within 4 sq km.

A sign at the entrance to Candido Godoi says, 'Garden City and Land of Twins.'

The mystery, which became widely noticed since the 1990s, began attracting international attention and inspiring books and investigations by geneticists.

Some researchers have suggested the darker possibility that Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician known as the Angel of Death, was involved.

Mengele, locals say, roamed this region of southern Brazil, posing as a veterinarian, in the 1960s, about the time the twins explosion began.

Nazi experiment?
In his 2008 book, Argentine journalist Jorge Camarasa suggested that Mengele conducted experiments with women here that resulted in the higher rate of twins, many of them with blonde hair and light-coloured eyes. The experiments, locals said, may have involved new types of drugs and preparations, or even the artificial insemination Mengele claimed to know about regarding cows and humans.

But no one could prove whether this happened in Candido Godoi.

Mengele, who died in Brazil in 1979, was notorious for his often-deadly experiments on twins at Auschwitz, ostensibly in an effort to produce a master Aryan race for Hitler.

The twins phenomenon is centred in the 300-person settlement of Sao Pedro, the part of Candido Godoi where the Grimms live.

Though town leaders declared Sao Pedro to have the highest concentration of twins in the world, a spokesman for Guinness World Records could not confirm that claim, saying Guinness did not keep track of the category.

Still, its residents relish the attention. Last year, at Sao Pedro's sixth biennial twins party, they erected a statue of a woman holding a boy in one arm and his twin sister in the other, and installed a moat-like 'fertility spring' that lights up at night.

Like many twins here, Fabiane and Tatiane Grimm, 22, have been posing for twins-seekers since they were babies.

'It's not too much of a mystery to me,' said Fabiane, whose family has five pairs of twins. 'My brother married his third cousin.

There are lots of cases like that, people marrying their cousins or other close family members.' But to some, the mystery remains.

Geneticists say the most likely explanation for the twins is genetic isolation and inbreeding. DrUrsula Matte, a geneticist in Porto Alegre, found that from 1990 to 1994, 10 percent of the births in Sao Pedro were twins, compared with 1.8percent for the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Source: http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/news/story/0,4136,193876,00.html?
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