June 11, 2003
Identical Twins Live Longer Than Fraternal Twins

Clones, er, I mean identical twins, live longer.

Zaretsky analyzed the responses and found one factor - social communication between twin partners - that was highly correlated with longer life in identical but not fraternal twins. Other types of social interaction, including active membership in church or community groups or close relationships with other relatives or friends, did not preferentially benefit identical or fraternal twins.

"Clearly, identical twins who communicated frequently survived longer than those who did not," he said. "This was not true of fraternal twins, whether they communicated or not."

In line with the Scandinavian studies, he found that the median life span of identical twins is 82 years - that is, half live more and half live less - versus 80.5 years for fraternal twins.

Interestingly, identical twins exhibited healthier behavior, which also contributed to their longevity. More of them exercised and fewer smoked in comparison with fraternal twins.

Zaretsky noted that exercise at all levels above the lowest level of exercise increased longevity.

"This indicates that a moderate amount of exercise is highly beneficial for health, and that highly vigorous exercise is not more beneficial than moderate exercise," he said.

What is going on here? Do they give each other better advice because they understand each other better? Or do they just feel better knowing that someone else so thoroughly understands them and can empathize with them? My guess is that the longer life is due to a reduction in stress caused by knowing someone who more deeply understands and sympathises. This reduces stress and stress reduction would definitely raise average life expectancy.

This result suggests a politically incorrect idea: Once the technology of cloning is perfected clones will live longer than non-clones. You can imagine just how unbearably snobbish that knowledge will make some class conscious clones in the future: "Oh you singletons, without fellow clones to talk to how ever can you bear to live your lonely wretched lives?" This will of course lead to gangs of resentful marginalized singleton youth roaming around looking for clones to beat up on.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2003 June 11 02:42 AM  Biotech Society

Dienekes said at June 12, 2003 1:45 AM:

Identical twins are not just clones, they are clones that were born at the same time, and by the same mother.

Sarah said at February 14, 2004 9:47 AM:

Identical twins may be considered, by some, as you say, "nature's clones" but that is incorrect. Twins came long before cloning ever did, and we are (when I say "we", that means that I am an identical twin, which is true) probably the reason anyone ever even thought of cloning. If no twins existed, than the idea of cloning would have probably never have come up at all. People would have not thought of "what if I was a twin?" because twins didn't exist. Someone might have thought "what if there was another person that looked exacly like me and was the same age as me?" but they could not put a word for it. We are not clones.

Megan Pattel said at March 2, 2004 5:49 PM:

can you send me more info on identical and fraternal twins like: what the age range would be and who is more prone to have them so i can complete my assignment please.

megan pattel

ps it would be really appreciated be myself and class mates

Rashona Rollins said at March 30, 2004 10:53 AM:

I do not think that this is the right assumption.

Rashona Rollins said at March 30, 2004 10:54 AM:

because i am a twin myseld but I am identical I still think that it is wrong assumption

karrie and kristine said at November 8, 2004 9:41 AM:

We would like you to seed us more information on this. We as of right now are not sure how this can be true.

melissa said at January 10, 2005 10:33 AM:

identical twins are clones in a way. In a way only. One of the "twins" is the naturel clone of the other.
By the way I'm 15 years old and the reason I say what I said is because I study "cloning" at school and it's interesring.

Derek Nordstrom said at February 21, 2005 5:27 PM:

My father is an Identical twin at the age of 68. My wife and myself just had a set of identical twins. There is no history of twins on my wifes side of the family. Is there a possible genetic link in identical twins running on the male side of the family? The reason I ask is my great grandfather had 4 sets of identical twins. This seems to fall on the Nordstrom side.I believe there are too many instances to be a fluke. I noticed growing up with my father and uncle they have opposite personalities. My twins seem to be the same way. One is more energetic than the other.

steve said at January 26, 2006 7:28 AM:

Twins are not like clones at all. Your twin is the same age as you and your clone staarts off as a baby and your clone will never look the same as the age you are now until you are much older. I'm writing a paper on cloning for school and if you have cloning questions go to www.globalchange.com/noclones.htm

jennifer Lee said at February 6, 2006 3:29 AM:

this question is for anyone who is identical twin or someone is your family is/are/were identical twin? i am study "potential factors attributed to indentical twin" i try to find out if it is genetic link or enviromental

Lauren said at April 18, 2008 2:21 PM:

I know how much I hate being called a "natural clone" and I know many others do too. But I guess I see where you're going with this. But I just want you to know we are NOT clones.

jane tippett said at August 14, 2008 11:35 PM:

was wondering if anyone knows who is the olderest surviving twins alive in australia even tasmania. I work in a nursing home and there are twins turning 95 next week.

Liam Porisse said at May 9, 2009 12:15 PM:

Iam a twin , 47yrs of age. It's difficult being a twin for those around us who dont comprehend. They always refer us as if we were one x2 when infact we are similar , but individuals. If you kick my twin brother I feel absolutely nothing , he will feel it though!
It's especially tough on wifes as they often feel less loved and understood then the twins twin...Not easy. We live in different places he lives in Brasil me in paris France . I have three kids and Iam divorced , he is married 17yrs and has no kids. So , all you twins enjoy your twin , be happy and your all inique individuals , that are very similar to your other ' half' , which isn't a half by the way.
Lastly , those twins who dress the same , and live together I think your a bit messed in the head.

kayla said at May 13, 2009 4:51 PM:

i am 14 years old, july ill be 15, but i have a freturnal twin and i wouldnt say identical twins are clones.

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