Quincy, IL (ABC) - Biracial twins have become social media stars thanks to photos showing their different complexions. Their story has captured the attention of a lot of people and now their parents are speaking out.
Nine-month-old Kalani Dean has light skin and blue eyes. She's just five minutes younger than her fraternal twin Jarani Dean, who has brown skin and brown eyes.
"I always have them dressed the same because if I go out people don't believe that they are twins," says Whiteny Meyer, the twins' mother.
Kalani looks more like her mother, and Jarani looks more like her father, Tomas Dean.
"Never in a million years would I imagine having a lighter complected daughter with blue eyes," Dean said.
One mom, one dad, and twin girls who shared the same womb - all live in Illinois with big half-brother Talan
"This is a pretty rare occurrence to have two twins that look very different but it certainly can happen with biracial couples," says Angela Bianco, MD, Maternal Fetal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. "But it's really just a matter of chance."
The babies are now social media stars - their story has been shared thousands of times online.
"It's amazing. It's one of those feelings you can't even describe," Meyer says
How are twins born with such different complexions?
Skin color is determined by multiple genes - fraternal twins like the Dean girls come from two separate eggs, fertilized by two different sperm. And the outcome depends on the genes that are expressed.
"By virtue of chance, one twin can inherit more DNA from a specific parent in contrast to its co-twin and that DNA can code or translate for things like skin color and eye color and can then result in very different physical attributes," Bianco says.
Kalani and Jarani may not always look so different as they grow up, skin tone can change over time. Mom and dad say their two babies also have distinct personalities.
"Kalani has more of a personality like her mother," Dean says. "Jay's more just set back, she's kinda like me, laid back."
"They are so different in their personalities," Meyers agrees.