I have always been fascinated by conjoined twins and have always had questions about them like; what do the Siamese have to do with conjoined twins? Why does this form of twin happen? What, if any genes cause this? What types of Conjoined twins are there? How does the environment affect, if at all, the biological families' gene pool? In my research in efforts to prepare this paper, I found the answers to this question and many more. This term paper will cover the types of conjoined twins, the biological occurrence that causes conjoined twins, a look into some of the genetic and environmental causes of conjoined twins, the types of conjoined twins and the genetic and social impact of conjoined twins.
1.1 Siamese - or - Conjoined Twins
Let's answer the first question right off the bat. The terms Siamese Twins and Conjoined Twins are synonymous, 1 The term Siamese twins comes from the most famous of conjoined male twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, born in Siam of Chinese parents in 1811. The Bunker Twins were exhibited in Barnum's circus for many years. While they were never separated, they each married and were successful businessman and ranchers in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Chang and Eng were attached by a five-inch connecting ligament near their breastbones. Although the Bunker Twins were connected each of them and their wives, sisters Sallie and Adelaide Yates, lived fairly private lives when they weren't touring the world to earn income. The twins died within 2 hours of each other in 1874. After their deaths it was determined they could have been successfully separated, a medical option that was never offered to Eng and Chang during their lives.
It was Eng and Chang's fame that helped coin the phrase 'Siamese Twins'. It should be noted that they were not the first pair of conjoined twins recorded in medical annals. There were approximately one hundred pairs of conjoined twins known by the time of their 1811 births. This fact... [continues]
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