The Strange Twin Town
Twin births aren’t very common. After all, only one in every 250 births produces twins. However, a Brazilian municipality called Cândido Godói in the state of Rio Grande do Sul has the highest proportion of twins in the world.
When you enter twin town, you see a welcome sign that says “Cândido Godói, The Land of Twins”. Globally, people know this town as the “world twin capital”. That’s because one in every 10 women there has given birth to twins.
Cândido Godói: The twin town
This twin town is located in a remote southern municipality of Brazil that has a population of approximately 6,500 people. The town is located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul beside Argentina.
90 twins currently live in the town. The area of Linha São Pedro, specifically, contains 44 twins. Between 1959 and 2014, 35% of the births in Cândido Godói were twins.
In this town, one in every 10 women gives birth to twins. As such, this area boasts the highest proportion of twins in the whole world. Another thing that’s striking about this Brazilian town and its twins is that most of the identical twin siblings are blonde and blue-eyed.
The inhabitants of Cândido Godói are well-aware of this oddity. They hold a twin festival each year where they bring all of the twins from the region together.
However, these townspeople can’t explain what’s going on in their own town. Some think that it could be a result of the improper use of nuclear energy. Others believe it’s something in the water. Still, others hold the theory that there could be some “extraterrestrial influence” involved. Currently, two theories stand out as the most reasonable. One involves the experiments of a famous Nazi doctor and the other is based on a genetic theory called the founder effect.
Hypothesis 1: The Nazi doctor’s experiments
This hypothesis follows the investigation of the Argentine historian and journalist Jorge Camarasa. Said work is summarized in his book Mengele: The Angel of Death in South America. This book describes the experiments Nazi doctor Josef Mengele carried out in the 1960s. Specifically, it discusses his experiments in Brazil, which he carried out after he fled to Latin America after World War II ended.
The Nazi doctor was in charge of the Auschwitz concentration camp. There, he used Jews as guinea pigs for his heinous experiments. His goal was to prove the supposed superiority of the Aryan race. Due to his acts of cruelty, people remember him today as the Angel of Death.
Mengele was obsessed with both identical and fraternal twins. He considered it necessary to discover the secret to multiple births so he could increase the population of the Aryan race.
He turned this small town into a human laboratory for that purposed. Since he arrived in 1961, the rate of twin births increased in Cândido Godói. Some witnesses say they remember his time there. They assert that the doctor treated some of the pregnant women with strange potions and injections.
Hypothesis 2: The founder effect
An exhaustive genetic study of the population of Cândido Godói showed that Mengele’s experiments aren’t the reason why so many twins are born there. Most of the people in the town come from a small group of forefathers. This means that almost all of the townspeople are related in some way. As such, they share many genetic characteristics.
Experts call this genetic effect the “founder effect”. It refers to the creation of a new population by a small number of individuals. This isn’t very common in the human race. However, there are some examples throughout history. In some cases, it’s voluntary and, in others, it’s imposed.
The gene that many of the townspeople in Cândido Godói share is TP53. 43 of the women who conceived twins have this gene. Experts link this gene to fertility and a higher likelihood of having twins. However, it’s not the only factor that determines this. The gene does predispose certain women to having multiple births.
Aside from all that, the studies revealed that the high rate of twin births preceded Mengele’s arrival. In fact, it’s also possible that the town’s particularity was the reason why the Nazi doctor decided to settle in Cândido Godói in the first place.
As such, the existence of this mysterious twin town can’t be explained by Mengele‘s supposed experiments. Instead, the answer lies in the biological and genetic characteristics of the population.It might interest you...