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The Real Monkey's Uncle

Marmoset monkeys sometimes father their twin brother's children with DNA they swapped as embryos.

Duration: 3 minutes, 19 seconds

The Real Monkey's Uncle

Marmosets are almost always born as fraternal twins that share a common placenta. Cells exchanged during embryonic development make each sibling a "chimera" with a mixture of its own and its sibling's cells. DNA testing recently showed that about half of male marmosets also carry a mixture of sperm cells, so a marmoset baby can actually inherit its uncle's DNA from its own father.

"Germ-line Chimerism and Paternal Care in Marmosets (Cllithrix kuhlii)" by C.N. Ross, J.A. French, and G. Orti, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (volume 104), April 10, 2007, pages 6278-6282.

POSTED May 3, 2007

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