Cullen and Romulus are two young Irish wolfhounds with something special about them. Indeed, the two brothers had the umbilical cords connected to the same placenta at birth and are genetically identical, which makes them monozygotic twins, or identical twins.
A first confirmed case of monozygotic twins in dogs. It was in South Africa that Cullen and Romulus, two young male Irish wolfhounds, were born a few weeks ago at the Rant En Dal veterinary clinic in Johannesburg. This came as a surprise to vets as they initially attributed an unusual bulge in the mother’s uterus to excess fluid surrounding the fetus. But while operating, they observed that of the seven puppies ready to come into the world, two had the umbilical cord connected to the same placenta.
Doctor De Cramen, who participated in caesarean sections and who performs about 900 a year for 26 years, had never seen this. The veterinarians then carried out various analyzes to verify that they were indeed “identical twins”, or monozygotic twins, that is to say twins who share the same placenta and the same genes. Blood tests were then carried out on the two puppies at two and six weeks of age, as well as tissue samples, tests which confirmed Cullen and Romulus’s twinning.
Identical twins therefore, but it is still possible to distinguish thanks to some subtle physical differences, in particular white markings on the level of the chest, the legs and the tail. If this is so, it is because, although the genes are the same, they are not expressed in the same way physically, as in humans. » Human twins also have the same genes, but because these genes are expressed differently in each person, they have different freckles and fingerprints. explains Dr. De Cramen.
In their study published in the journal Reproduction in Domestic Animals, the authors state: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a monozygotic pairing in dogs confirmed using DNA profiling.“. Cullen and Romulus are doing great today.