Kodinhi, a small town in Kerala’s Malappuram district, remains a mystery to academics. This community boasts the highest concentration of twins in the country. There are at least 400 pairs of twins in the community of 2000 households, according to estimates. While official estimates in 2008 put the number of twins in the town at 280 pairs, people say the number has only climbed in the years afterwards. In Kodinhi, the figure might reach 45 per 1000 births, while the national average for twin births is less than 9 per 1000 births.
In October 2016 to research this occurrence, a team of researchers from various institutions, including the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and biology in Hyderabad, the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), the University of London, and Germany, visited the community. To investigate the twins’ DNA, the researchers obtained saliva and hair samples from each. The research is being carried out in Kodinhi, Hung loc commune in Hung Hiep from South Vietnam, Igbo-Ora from Nigeria, and Cándido Godói from Brazil, all of which have a high proportion of twin births.
Prof E Preetham of KUFOS points out that, while there are many theories as to why this may happen, nothing has been proven empirically. “While many believe it is hereditary, there is also suggestion that a specific ingredient in the village’s air or water might be the origin of this phenomena.” In terms of our research, we have taken samples from individuals in Kodinhi and are in the midst of collecting samples from other villages as well. “As of yet, there is no scientific explanation for the phenomena,” Dr Preetham stated.
Visitors to this community are greeted with a blue sign that reads, “Welcome to the God’s own Twins Village—Kodinhi.” P Bhaskaran, president of the Twins and Kins Association, India’s only association of its sort, says that the residents of Kodinhi are now curious about what is causing so many twin births.
Bhaskaran’s family has lived in the village for more than two generations, and others have migrated there in recent years. Regardless matter where they come from or what religion they follow, the strangely high number of twins in the previous three generations is a powerful thread that links the inhabitants of Kodinhi.
In 2006, a pair of twin sisters’ interest prompted the town to take notice of a trend of high incidence of twin births in their area. “At the time, this pair of twins called Sameera and Femeena were eighth-grade pupils at the nearby IISC school.” They noted that their class alone had eight pairs of twins. They discovered that there were twins in other classrooms as well. “This was a big finding for them,” Bhaskaran explained.
Later those twin sisters done a class project based on the survey of twins in the village where they found about 24 pair of twins. This mini-survey done by the two schoolchildren was the catalyst for Kodinhi’s finding. The word of the twin girls’ discovery quickly circulated, prompting the townspeople to take stock of the pattern. “In 2008, we organised a little committee and performed a survey altogether of the village’s homes. We were surprised to discover that there were 280 pairs of twins at the time. That’s when we all realised there was something special about our community. We conducted some investigation and discovered that the only other area where such a phenomenon has been seen is in Brazil. We then founded the association and had it properly registered as a non-profit organisation dedicated to the twins’ well-being “According to Bhaskaran Not all families, however, have a history of twin births. Sukumaran (71), a retired government official, has lived in Kodinhi for the previous two generations, and Praseena (34) is his sole daughter. Their family has never had twins, but their daughter Prasanna is now the mother of twins.
“After our daughter married, she moved to Qatar to live with her husband, and she only came to see us once a year. When she conceived ten years ago, we had no idea she would give birth to twins “Sukumaran explains While the families have their own theories about why the occurrence happens, Abhilash, an autorickshaw driver and father to two pairs of twins, is concerned that the state government has yet to provide any financial assistance to families with multiple pairs of twins.
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