In mythology, a chimera is a monstrous fire-breathing creature composed of multiple animal parts. These animal parts are: head and front of the body that of a lioness, tail ending with a snake’s head, and at the center of the spine the head of a goat with the back half of the body that of a goat.
In a human, a chimera is one person on the outside, but two individual DNA profiles on the inside. Many will go through life and never know that they are a chimera.
How Does a Chimera Form?
A chimera begins when two different ova are fertilized by two separate sperm. The two ova then begin fusion at the blastocyst or zygote stages. In other words, a chimera is the fusion of two nonidentical twins into one. When born, the baby is male or female and in some cases a hermaphrodite.
The Frequency of Chimeras
Most chimeras go through life never knowing they carry within themselves a second set of DNA, nor are they aware of the fact they once were a twin. A natural chimera will go through life undetected unless he or she has physical abnormalities that would include those of male/female or hermaphrodite, or an uneven skin pigmentation.
A Strange Medical Phenomenon
Those chimera that do not show external characteristics, will often be unaware of what lies within until something happens that requires DNA testing.
One such case happened to a young woman, Lydia Fairchild, when her DNA profile was ordered because she was applying for federal assistance. Each of her children had to have blood drawn as well as Fairchild and the children’s father, in order to prove she in fact was the mother of her children. When the results of the tests came back, she was not prepared for what was about to be revealed.
The test indicated that the father was in fact the children’s father, but Lydia was not the mother. The test was performed two more times with the results still the same. With these results in hand, Lydia was charged with fraud and risked losing custody of her children. After a long and hard battle with the legal system, all charges were dropped against Lydia. Tissue was taken from her cervix and tested, and it proved to be a match to her children. It was at that point that Lydia became known as a chimera.
Another case involving a woman, Karen Keegan, revealed that she was a chimera after DNA testing was done. Karen was in need of a kidney transplant. Much to her dismay, after two of her children were tested to find out if they were a match, they in fact were not a match. Not only were they not a match, but according to the DNA testing, she was not their mother. Further testing of other tissues within Karen’s body reveled she was indeed the children’s mother.
Chimeras in The Future
Although chimeras have been around for a long time, we are just now scratching the surface of this medical marvel. We do know that chimeras will have an important impact on organ donations from blood to organs to tissue.
“I Am My Own Twin”. Channel 47 TV, USA, Discovery Fit & Health