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A woman born with a condition so rare won a Guinness World Record with her identical twin sister.
Twin sisters Sienna and Sierra Bernal, both 23, from Texas, US, shocked doctors when only Sienna was born with primordial dwarfism, which is practically unheard of.
Thanks to this diagnosis, the identical sisters hold the record title for the rarest form of discordant twinning.
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The phrase "twin growth discordance" refers to a large size or weight disparity between the two foetuses of a twin pregnancy.
The smaller twin's estimated foetal weight must be below the 10th percentile in order for it to be classified as a growth discordance.
Sierra weighs 7st and stands at 5ft 7in, while Sienna weighs 3.5st and measures 4ft 4in.
With a height discrepancy of over a foot and a weight difference of 3.5st, the discordance between the sisters is evident.
The only known identical twins with this discrepancy are Sienna and Sierra, making Sienna the first twin to be born with primordial dwarfism.
But if you ask the twins, most of the time they don’t consider themselves different at all.
In fact, the only time they’re reminded there’s a difference in the first place is when they receive curious looks from strangers.
"Sometimes when we go out in public, people will think she’s my mum and not my twin because I’m so short," Sienna told the Guinness World Records.
"When we go to bars, people think I’m eight even though I’m 23. It’s really funny."
Their mum, Chrissy Bernal, was told she was having twins just six weeks before they were born.
"They [the doctors] said ‘So, you’re having twins, but you need to quickly get over that because we need to talk about baby B’," Chrissy said.
"So, I had to absorb that information really quickly and then just move straight on to her [Sienna] being so small."
Sienna's development was over six weeks behind her sister's at birth.
Chrissy explained the absence of a piece of Sienna's brain during development and the fact she was noticeably smaller than "twin A" made doctors aware Sienna had Dandy-Walker Syndrome before she was even born.
At the time, dwarfism wasn’t something they were thinking was a possibility because Sienna was still proportionate.
In fact, Chrissy claims it was quite the battle to learn what form of dwarfism Sienna has.
Doctors assumed a hole in Sienna’s heart or the fact she kept getting pneumonia were potential reasons behind her small size.
It wasn’t until she was about six years old they discovered she had dwarfism when the pair decided to visit a geneticist from Belgium.
They confirmed she has primordial dwarfism, which is a form of dwarfism that results in a smaller body size and other growth abnormalities.
There are fewer than 200 people in the world diagnosed with primordial dwarfism and the exact type Sienna has is unknown.
Chrissy refers to her daughters as "monozygotic twins" instead of "identical" as she finds it misleading because identical twins don’t always look like one another.
Monozygotic twins result from the fertilisation of a single egg, which then splits into two.
Sienna’s diagnoses are considered mutations because her genes mutated after the egg split.
She dedicates her time to improving the lives of others born with dwarfism and the family work together as advocates for theEqual Restroom Access for Little People Movement.
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