PARENTS
25/02/2016 06:25 GMT | Updated 25/02/2016 06:59 GMT

Doctors Surprised As Mum Gives Birth To 'Identical' Twins With Different Skin Colours

A mum has spoken of her surprise when her "identical" twin daughters were born looking rather different.

Mum Libby Appleby, 37, was told her unborn babies would look so similar they would need to be "marked with ink" to tell them apart.

But she was stunned when Amelia was born with dark skin and brown eyes, while her sister Jasmine has fair skin and blue eyes.

Despite their contrasting skin tones, the siblings are genetically identical.

"When they were born, we were flabbergasted, even the doctors couldn't believe it," said Appleby, from County Durham. "They look like they're different races."

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Amelia and Jasmine were born from the same egg

Appleby and her partner of three years, electrical engineer Tafadzwa Madzimbamuto, 40, found out she was pregnant in June 2014.

Three months later they were told Appleby was expecting twins, and medics at University Durham Hospital warned they would be "so identical they would be difficult to tell apart".

Appleby said medics "gasped" when they delivered the twins - who are monozygotic, meaning they were formed in the same zygote (egg) but developed in separate sacs.

"We put them next to each other in a cot and couldn't believe how different they were," she said.

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Amelia and Jasmine just after they were born

"Amelia was so much darker than Jasmine, they barely even looked related," Appleby said.

"Doctors told us the chances of conceiving mixed race twins are one in a million.

"We were thrilled they were so unique."

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A sample of Appleby's placenta confirmed the twins are 100% genetically identical, despite their differing appearances.

Appleby said strangers assume the twins - who have just celebrated their first birthday - are step-sisters.

"We get a lot of funny looks when we tell people the girls are actually identical," she said. "I don't blame strangers for thinking they aren't sisters, because they do look nothing alike.

"The girls are just noticing the difference in their skin colour now, but they're so wonderful and unique.

"Looking back, it's funny that we were worried we'd never tell them apart."

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