MALAPPURAM: Less than a week ago, gynaecologist Laila Beegum supervised the birthing of a set of identical twins to a couple from Kodinhi village, now known globally for the high number of multiple births. The twin babies born on August 7 this year took the total number of such deliveries witnessed by her to 452.
Though the total number of twins in the village has now crossed 500, the mystery behind the phenomenon is yet to be unravelled.
Located close to Tirurangadi town in Malappuram district, Kodinhi village, with its high twinning rate, garnered global media attention around six years ago. At Kodinhi, twins account for 42 per 1,000 live births while the global average of twinning is reportedly around six per 1,000.
Brazil’s Candido Godoi and Nigeria’s Igbo-Ora have witnessed similar birth phenomenon. Attempts by several scientists and organisations to find the secret behind the high twinning rate have failed to bear fruit.
Recently, Dr N K Sribiju, public health consultant, Taluk Hospital, Tirurangadi, approached the state government seeking permission to conduct a genetic study on the local populace.
“Surely, there would be a scientific reason behind the birth of a huge number of twins in such a small area. But, the secret can be revealed only through a detailed genetic and environment study. We are awaiting permission from the ethical committee of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology at Thiruvananthapuram for the same,” said Dr Sribiju.
Significantly, more than 90 per cent of the couples from Kodinhi who reported twin births conceived normally. “Hence, IVF treatment cannot be considered as a reason for the high rate of twinning in Kodinhi,” Dr Biju said.
Dr Laila, who runs Laila’s Hospital, Chemmad, said multiple births are not just being reported by persons born and brought up here.
“Many women who came to Kodinhi after marrying someone here have also experienced twin birth. So, it could be due to some mysterious element of nature.
“Earlier, we conducted a water test but the results were not conclusive,” Dr Laila added.
Twins and Kins Association (TAKA) of Kodinhi believes that their village has the most density of twins in the world and is planning to approach officials of the Guinness Book to claim a record.
“There are families having three pairs of twins and triplets at home. A 90-year-old man here is the eldest among the twins who are alive,” said Bhaskaran Pullani, president, Twins and Kins Association, which is planning to organise a get-together of all Kodinhi twins.