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J Pediatr. 1979 Dec;95(6):921-30.

Monozygotic twinning and structural defects.


An excess of structural defects occurs in monozygotic twins compared in dizygotic twins or singletons. The excess is composed of three categories of defects. The first includes defects which are part of the MZ twinning, such as conjoined twins and some amorphous twins. In addition, all early embryonic malformations and malformation complexes such as sirenomelia mc. holoprosencephaly mc. and anencephaly mc are increased in MZ twins. The reason for this association is considered to be the common etiology for both the MZ twinning and the early malformation problem. MZ twins provide an excellent model for appreciating the spectra of particular malformation complexes, since the twins often have different gradations in severity of the same type of structural defect. The finding of both discordant and concordant MZ twins with Goldenhar, de Lange, and Rubinstein-Taybi syndromes suggests that these "syndromes" might be early malformation complexes. The other two categories are considered secondary to the MZ twinning process. The most unique category results from any vascular interchange between the MZ twins. Depending on their nature, vascular connections may give rise to reverse flow with acardiac status in one twin during early development, or to vascular disruptions from a deceased co-twin with intravascular coagulation causing embolization in the surviving co-twin. The latter defects may include microcephaly, porencephalic cysts, hydranencephaly, intestinal atresia, aplasia cutis, and limb amputation. Unequal growth may occur as a result of artery to vein placental anastomoses. The final category is deformations due to crowding in utero during late gestation. These do not differ from those in DZ twins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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