Twinning and heteropaternity in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).
Unlike monozygotic (MZ) twins, dizygotic (DZ) twins develop from separate ova. The resulting twins can have different sires if the fertilizing sperm comes from different males. Routine paternity testing of a pair of same-sexed chimpanzee twins born to a female housed with two males indicated that the twins were sired by two different males. DNA typing of 22 short-tandem repeat (STR) loci demonstrated that these twins were not MZ twins but heteropaternal DZ twins. Reproductive data from 1926-2002 at five domestic chimpanzee colonies, including 52 twins and two triplets in 1,865 maternities, were used to estimate total twinning rates and the MZ and DZ components. The average chimpanzee MZ twinning rate (0.43%) equaled the average human MZ rate (0.48%). However, the chimpanzee DZ twinning rate (2.36%) was over twice the human average, and higher than all but the fertility-enhanced human populations of Nigeria. Similarly high twinning rates among African chimpanzees indicated that these estimates were not artifacts of captivity. Log-linear analyses of maternal and paternal effects on recurrent twinning indicated that females who twinned previously had recurrence risks five times greater than average, while evidence for a paternal twinning effect was weak. Chimpanzee twinning rates appear to be elevated relative to corresponding estimated human rates, making twinning and possibly heteropaternity more important features of chimpanzee reproductive biology than previously recognized.