Tess and Chris Giddings knew when they started a family they would be making an inevitable contribution to multicultural Britain. For the children produced by the blue-eyed blonde and her black-skinned husband cover just about every spectrum of the inter-racial rainbow.
Precisely how they ended up with four such different children is doubtless of great interest to geneticists, but it came as a surprise to Tess, a former model, and Chris, a store supervisor. At one stage they even wondered whether daughter Amiah, the palest on the Giddings family colour chart, might have been switched at birth with another child at Colchester General Hospital.
After their first child, Jacob, now six, was born at Southend General Hospital in Essex, Tess and Chris, from Colchester, watched him develop into a perfect blend of his parents – with olive skin, blue eyes, and soft, curly brown hair. Savannah, now four, was born at the same hospital and looked almost identical to her big brother as a baby, but is growing up with slightly paler skin and lighter hair.


It is unusual for children with the same parents to have dramatically different skin colours, but – as the Giddings family prove – it’s far from impossible.
A black person can possess one or two genes for lighter skin, while a white person may have some for darker skin.
A child’s skin colour will depend on which combination it inherits – and in siblings whose parents have both dark and light gene variants, the results can be dramatically different. Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said: ‘People think it is a black and white issue, but this case shows it clearly isn’t. A spokesman for the British Society for Human Genetics added: ‘Like many human traits, skin colour is influenced by several different genes.
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I’d never ask anyone that, but people were very blatant.’ To rule out any doubt about a hospital mix-up, the couple agreed to a DNA test. It is an arm of the RED brand, which is the continent's largest omni-media group focused on Africa's youth.




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