Kodinhi, a remote and sleepy village in Kerala’s Malappuram district, continues to be a mystery to researchers. This village has the largest number of twins in the country.
According to estimates, there are at least 400 pairs of twins in the village that has a population of 2000 families. While official estimates in 2008 pegged the number of twins in the village to 280 pairs, the number has only increased in the years that followed, residents point out. While the national average of twin births is not more than 9 in 1000 births, in Kodinhi, the number is as high as 45 in 1000 births.
In October 2016, a joint team of researchers from various institutions including CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) and University of London and Germany visited the village to find answers to this phenomenon.
Prof E Preetham of KUFOS points out that though there are multiple speculations about why this could occur, nothing has been proved scientifically.
“While many say that it is genetic, there are also speculations that a particular element in the air or water in the village could be the cause of this phenomenon. As far as our study is concerned, we have collected the samples from people in Kodinhi and is in the process of collecting samples from the other communities too. As of now, the phenomenon is yet to get a scientific explanation,” Dr Preetham said.
“In 2008, we formed a small committee and conducted a survey in all the houses in the village. To our surprise, we found that there were 280 pair of twins then. It was then that all of us realised that there was something special about our village. We did some research and got to know that the only other place where such a phenomenon is seen is in Brazil. We then formed the association and got it formally registered as a body that works for the welfare of the twins,” Bhaskaran a villager said.
Experts who have visited the remote tropical village of Kodinhi, in Kerala, have been left scratching their heads over the phenomenon that has seen almost six times as many twins born than the global average. Local doctor and twin enthusiast Dr Krishnan Sribiju has been studying the medical marvel of Kodinhi for the past two years. Although 220 sets of twins have been officially registered in the village Dr Sribiju believes the real number to be far higher. The genetic, biological, molecular, hereditary and climatic factors of the puzzling phenomena are the subject matter of the research on the multiple births at Kodinhi. While the strange and wonderful phenomena of extra-ordinary concentration of twin births in this village continues, an in-depth study on the various factors to find out its causes has become highly essential.