How Is Skin Color Determined In Newborns? 15 Pics You Need To See

May 18, 2018 lilit 0 Comments

Everyone knows that both mom’s and dad’s genetics come into play when a baby is conceived, but sometimes the results are stunning. When parents’ genetics are too similar, strange disorders and unsightly mutations pop up. But when parents have diverse backgrounds, babies can wind up with traits that have skipped generations, or totally foreign traits that no one remembers seeing in great grandma or grandpa!

DNA is an amazing thing, and not just when you hold your perfect little bundle after nine months of growing him or her inside you. DNA dictates not only what your child will look like, but how they will grow and how they’ll deal with their environment.

At the same time, as advanced as technology and medicine are today, there’s still a lot we don’t know about biology and genetics, especially when it comes to our odds of having babies with certain traits.

There’s no true way to predict exactly what our babies will look like, either - not that we care whether they have blue or brown eyes, anyway. That said, check out these fascinating examples of how genetics (and chance) dictates the outcome of a pregnancy, and how much it can shock new parents!


As rare as biracial twins are, they seem to be cropping up all over the place! However, monozygotic identical twins Jasmine and Amelia were the United Kingdom’s first set. Their parents, Libby and Tafadzwa, are white and black, respectively. One twin has mom’s complexion, while the other has a skin tone that one would expect given the parents’ skin tones.

Jasmine has fair skin and blue eyes, Yahoo reported, while Amelia has brown eyes and dark skin. The girls’ faces don’t look exactly alike, either, but even if they did, different skin tones are a surefire way to tell these twins apart! The craziest part of this story is that the girls’ DNA matches exactly- so what caused their pigmentation differences? Doctors say the odds of this happening are one in a million, literally!


Joanne already had four children when she became pregnant with Mackenzie and Millie- including another set of twins who were eight at the time. Joanne is white and her partner Larry is black, and the mom of six told The Sun that she and her husband spent hours discussing what the twins would look like, guessing that they would have skin tones that matched one another, but neither one of their parents.

Joanne said that when her babies were born, the midwives looked at the infants and told the parents that Millie would have dark skin, and Mackenzie light, because of the pigmentation under their fingernails. After a few months, the difference was striking. The parents note that the kids don’t even resemble siblings, let alone twins, and that people often ask whether both children belong to them when they go out.


Brianna Worthy’s photograph of herself and her daughter MilliAnna went viral when people noticed their unique pigmentation. Both Brianna and her baby daughter have a white streak of hair among heads full of curly black locks, along with Brianna’s mother and grandmother. The family isn’t sure how far back the genetic “mutation” goes, however, because Brianna’s grandmother was adopted, she told the Telegraph. Still, she was happy to see that she had passed the unique hairstyle on to her daughter, since it skipped her younger sister, and only her mom and grandma have it, too.

Both Brianna and her daughter also have different pigmentation on their legs, as many of her Instagram snaps show. The family hasn’t had genetic testing done, however, and mom Brianna says she plans to raise her daughter to know that she’s beautiful and special, regardless of whether kids make mean comments to her.


Out of five children, Vince and Donna Aylmer had three girls and two boys, including a set of female twins. Donna is half-Jamaican and Vince is white, and their children all came out with a blend of both parents’ pigmentation, except for one. Twins Lucy and Maria were visibly different from the start, as the speechless parents immediately found out. As girls, the two shared the same curly hair, but Lucy’s is red and Maria’s is dark brown.

As the girls grew, their differences became even more pronounced. They told the New York Post that all through school and later in college, the girls enjoyed not looking identical because neither was ever mistaken for the other. At the same time, they often resorted to showing classmates their birth certificates to prove they were twins.


Angela Ihegboro told the New York Post that she was speechless when doctors handed her her newborn baby. Little Nmachi is blond and blue-eyed, while her parents are black Nigerian immigrants. The baby was born in London, and doctors there surmise that there are three possible theories for Nmachi’s coloring (or lack thereof).

First, Nmachi could be the result of a gene mutation, and if that’s the case, all her future children would have the same mutation. Second, Nmachi could be the result of long-dormant white genes, passed down through generations and resurfacing from her parents’ combination of genes. The third guess is that Nmachi has some variation of albinism, and that she might darken over time, although she doesn’t have the standard signs of albinism, so that specific condition can’t be confirmed.


Mom Whitney shared with Today that she sees her twin daughters- one black, one white- as “the same girl, just different colors.” At first, she was “in denial,” Whitney said, because one of her newborn twins was white and one was black. She even asked if Kalani, the paler twin, was albino, because Jarani had a skin tone that was a blend of mom’s (white) and dad’s (black).

The twins were an extra special surprise to Whitney and her boyfriend, who lost a son, Pravyn, when he drowned while at daycare at age two. The girls were born two years after Pravyn’s death, and Whitney says Jarani looks just like him. She also notes that Kalani looks like their older brother, Talan, who is Caucasian. Doctors say the “random shuffling” of genes is to blame for all the variation in skin color.


A UK geneticist claims that mixed-race couples in Europe who have fraternal twins can expect a one in 500 odds that their twins will have different skin tones, the Daily Mail reported. That’s a far cry from the one-in-a-million odds of having identical twins with different pigment, but it’s still a fascinating occurrence when it does happen.

Unfortunately for twins Brittney and Breana, few people believed the two were actually twins, and Breana often experienced bullying because she didn’t “look” either black or white. While Brittney has darker skin and was more easily accepted by their peers, Breana was picked on because people assumed she was adopted and pushed her to denounce one side of her heritage just because of her looks. Still, their family’s support helped the girls through, and they maintained pride in their biracial heritage.


Brayden and Cameron Norman’s parents actually discussed their fraternal twins’ skin tone during the pregnancy, and joked to each other that they could end up with one black baby and one white baby. To their surprise, it actually happened. Because the boys are fraternal and not identical, it’s not that big of a shock, and mom Jessica and dad Daunte’s older daughter could also “pass” for being white, they told Fox 6 Now.

In fact, the parents reached out to the news station to share their story and noted that they want to tell the world that “love is more than skin deep.” After endless stares from passersby and ignorant comments from strangers, the couple explained that just because parents look a certain way, that doesn’t mean genetics guarantees their kids will resemble them- or each other.


When mom Jessica Smith posted her newborn daughter’s photo online, she didn’t expect it to go viral. Then again, mom was just as besotted with the tot’s snow-white hair as everyone else online, and little Devina had an entire head full. As mom was delivering Devina, the doctor told her the baby had a lot of hair, Jessica told the Mirror. But when she saw her daughter, the white-blond hair was unexpected, but also “extra special.”

Doctors say Devina has partial albinism, so while she has snow-white hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, her skin has the regular pigmentation of your average Caucasian person. Still, doctors will routinely check Devina’s eyesight to make sure she doesn’t suffer any ill effects due to her albinism. As far as Jessica knows, there’s no family history that indicates the condition, so Devina truly is one-of-a-kind.


Because dad Kenika’s heritage is a blend of African-American, Hispanic, Hawaiian, and Chinese, and mom Ashley’s is Irish and Hispanic, no one expected their boy-girl twins to be plain! But they were thrown off when Viviana was born with blue eyes, light brown hair, and a light complexion and Dennis came out with brown eyes and brown hair and a dark complexion.

Still, the family is familiar with seemingly inexplicable genetics- Kenika’s two daughters from a previous marriage don’t look like one another, either, USA Today explained. One girl has fiery red hair like her mother, the other looks just like her dark-skinned dad. Mom Ashley says she doesn’t want her twins to identify with any one race, and hopes that they embrace their uniqueness, despite rude or inquisitive comments based on the kids’ appearances alone.


Half of Rosamere’s children have albinism, the Mirror reported, and the other half are dark-skinned like their mother and fathers. When she had her first child at 18, Rosamere was stunned when the nurse handed her a pale white baby with blue eyes. Ruth, then later Estefani and Kauan, suffered from light sensitivity and severe sunburn until Rosamere was able to determine how to care for her children’s delicate skin.

Doctors said that Rosamere and her ex-husband both carried the gene for albinism. That meant that each of their children had a one in four chance of having the condition. Their first two children had it, then it skipped son Joao, and fourth child Kauan was also afflicted. The article didn’t note whether Rosamere’s ex was also father to her next child, Rebeca, who does not have albinism, but her youngest was unafflicted and fathered by a different man.


Arnesha Douglas told the Daily Mail that the day her twins were born, it was one of the most memorable moments of her life. Baby Caleb had lighter skin like dad Eduardo Sanchez, and twin Chloe has darker skin like their mom. Arnesha admits it was hard as a new mom because people would comment that Caleb looked nothing like her, although the comments were easier to take when she was out with her children’s father, since each child “matches” one of them.

At the same time, Arnesha explained that she does worry about racism, and about her kids being teased for how they look, and for the fact that they don’t “match” in the way that kids assume all twins do. However, she says she sees this as a learning opportunity for not only her kids, but everyone around them as well.


Twin girls Anaya and Myla have the same inquisitive eyes and little button noses, but despite being twins, that’s where their similarities end. Mom Hannah Yarker says that the girls have distinct personalities- Anaya is more laid back, and Myla is always getting into things. There’s also the fact that the girls have vastly different skin tones.

Anaya is fair-skinned like her mom, Cosmopolitan noted, while Myla has a similar complexion to their father, who is mixed-race. While friends had joked with the couple during the pregnancy, Hannah said she didn’t think it was that likely. As biracial twins with differing skin tones become more and more common, Anaya and Myla join the ranks of other mismatched twins who will enjoy their twin bond while still maintaining their independence via distinctive looks.


Twins Megan and Sophie were the subject of tons of photographs in their first few days as new parents Louise and Chris Tubman snapped photos in the hospital and later, at home. The girls were often kept together, as they were delivered early and weighed only a little over four pounds each. When the babies were two days old, Louise told the Daily Mail, she thought Sophie looked a little “off.” Doctors said she just had jaundice, a normal condition in infants that goes away with proper feeding.

But weeks later, and numerous trips to the doctor later, Sophie still wasn’t looking well- especially in comparison to her pink and vibrant-looking twin Megan. Eventually doctors discovered that Sophie was suffering from a liver condition that was changing her skin’s pigment, and she required immediate surgery to survive.


Catherine and Richard Howarth, an interracial couple, wound up with a white baby- against million-to-one odds. Mom Catherine is Nigerian and dark-skinned, while dad Richard is white. Baby Jonah arrived completely white, but he also was pale due to delivery circumstances. So the parents were even more surprised when he “pinked up” a few hours later, and stayed the same pale shade he’d been at delivery. Doctors guess he’ll stay that way.

Doctors believe Catherine has a recessive gene for the pigmentation, because baby Jonah is not albino, just white. The million in one chance comes from the fact that out of 20 of Catherine’s alleles, only one could impact Jonah’s skin color. Still, the parents say they’re just thrilled to have a healthy and happy baby, regardless of his skin color.

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