The birth of twins is not a very common occurrence. After all, only one in every 250 births is twins, at least in Spain. However, in a municipality in Brazil, called Cândido Godói, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, there is the largest proportional number of twins in the world.
Upon entering this town of twins, you can see a welcome sign that says: “Cândido Godói, Land of Twins”. But, it is known worldwide as: “the world capital of the twins”. Because one in 10 women gave birth to twins in this town.
The village of twins, Cândido Godói
This town of twins is located in a remote municipality in southern Brazil, with a population of just over 6,500 inhabitants. It is located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, bordering Argentina.
Currently in the municipality there are 90 twins in total, and specifically in the town of Linhao São Pedro there are 44 twins. Something that was not new, because if we look at the historical statistics they are equally amazing. Between 1959 and 2014, in Cândido Godói, 35% of births were twins.
All this means that in that municipality for every 10 women one of them gives birth to a twin. Therefore, that population has the largest proportional number of twins from around the world. Something that also calls the attention of the Brazilian town and its twins is the fact that the majority of the identical brothers are blond and blue eyes.
The inhabitants of Cândido Godói are aware of this particularity of their municipality: it has its own festival of twins that is celebrated every year, gathering all the twins of the region.
The residents themselves do not know how to explain what is happening in Cândido Godói. Some consider that it can be the work of the misuse of nuclear energy, the composition of water or “even alien intervention”. Currently two hypotheses are handled quite credible: one is the intervention of a famous Nazi doctor in the population, and the other is based on a genetic theory, called the founder effect.
Hypothesis 1: the intervention of the Nazi doctor
This hypothesis follows the investigations of the Argentine historian and journalist Jorge Camarasa. This work is collected in a book called The Angel of Death in South America. It describes the experiments carried out by the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in the 60s. Specifically those carried out in Brazil after exiling to Latin America, at the end of World War II.
This Nazi doctor was in charge of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Place where he used the Jews as guinea pigs for his atrocious experiments. With the aim of demonstrating the supposed superiority of the Aryan race. For these acts of cruelty he is currently known as the Angel of Death.
Twins and twins were one of Mengele’s greatest obsessions. Necessary means to discover the secret of multiple pregnancies in order to increase the Aryan race.
For this reason, when he arrived at Cândido Godói, he made of that small and remote village a human laboratory. As of his arrival in 1961, the number of twin births increased in Cândido Godói. Some witnesses of the town remember their stay. They assured that some pregnant women were treated by the doctor with strange potions and injections.
Hypothesis 2: the founding effect
An exhaustive genetic study of the population of Cândido Godói would show that the reason for the existence of the town of twins is not the intervention of the Nazi doctor. The majority of the descendants of the town belong to a group of very small people. What produces that almost all the settlers are related, and therefore share many genetic traits.
This genetic phenomenon is known as the founder effect. It is characterized by the formation of a new population from a small number of individuals. This is rare within the human species. However, cases have been presented throughout the history of mankind, either voluntarily or imposed.
The gene shared by many of the residents of Cândido Godói is TP53, common in 43 women who conceived twins. Gene that is associated with fertility and that facilitates the pregnancy of twins, but is not fully determinant. Gene that predisposes that certain women have multiple pregnancies.
In addition, studies revealed that the abundance of twins in Cândido Godói predates the arrival of Mengele. There is a possibility that this particularity of the people could have been the differential factor for the Nazi doctor to decide to settle in Cândido Godói.