Brushing off the cobwebs from this blog tonight with an article on a fairly morbid topic: the potential legacy of Dr. Joesph Mengele on the populations of South America. For years there has been rampant speculation regarding the seemingly high numbers of twins within the municipality of Cândido Godói in South Brazil. Seeing as twinning was an obsession for Mengele, the question reigned as to whether or not the high instance of twins is the result of some unknown experimentation upon the population. However, as this article by Tagliani-Ribeiro et al. demonstrates that no spike in twinning occurred in association with Mengele's presence in the area. In addition, isonymy studies demonstrate that the twining often occurred among women with a significantly higher inbreeding coefficient,pointing to a founder effect as the cause for the higher incidents of twinning in Cândido Godói.
Tagliani-Ribeiro A, Oliveira M, Sassi AK, Rodrigues MR, Zagonel-Oliveira M, et al. (2011) Twin Town in South Brazil: A Nazi's Experiment or a Genetic Founder Effect? PLoS ONE 6(6): e20328.