A family of 14 who were all born with six fingers and six toes has welcomed another member to their clan – a baby boy with same genetic abnormality.
The extraordinary De Silva family has used the extra digit to their advantage and says the abnormality makes them “stand out from the crowd”.
And new dad Alessandro is delighted his new son has inherited the family mark.
He said: “This is a mark that no other family has.”
Alessandro has six fingers, whilst his wife, Katia, only has five – meaning there was a 50 per cent chance of their baby boy, Vinicius inheriting the six-finger gene.
With their first son, Guilherme proudly owning six fingers, they were hoping their newborn would follow suit.
Katia said: “We found out that Vinicius was a boy in the 13th week of pregnancy and from that moment on we were hoping that he would have six fingers.”
Her husband added: “Since Vinicius was born, we noticed that his fingers are perfectly functional. He is already trying to grab things, so all his fingers work normally.”
The genetic syndrome that causes people to be born with extra fingers and toes is called Polydactyl. Surprisingly, it occurs in one in 1,000 births.
Genetic Scientist, Dr. Laura Lettice explained: “There are a variety of mutations that result in this condition but in the case of just having extra fingers and toes, then we’re looking at a misexpression of a gene which normally results in the patterning of your digits.
“If either your mum or your dad has extra digits, then you stand a 50/50 chance of getting the same type.”
The De Silva’s, fondly known in their city as ‘The Family of Six,’ all believe their extra digits are an asset, rather than a hindrance – from making them better musicians, to competitive goalkeepers.
Alessandro’s aunt Sylvia said: “It’s never been an issue for us having six fingers. We like having six fingers.”
Seven-year-old Guilherme said: “The coolest thing about having six fingers being able to hold a lot of things at once.”
His cousin Maria added: “The best t
hing about having six fingers is I can play more keys [on the piano].
And goalkeeper Joao Assisi said: “I’m able to reach some balls when people can’t. For me it’s easier to hold the ball, I have more grip and my hands covers more, so it’s difficult for the ball to escape.”
Alessandro’s grandfather Assisi is responsible for turning the family’s deficiency into something to be proud of.
Alessandro said: “My grandfather transformed having six fingers into a valuable thing. So much, so that he wrote a book where his hands are on the cover.
“And he composed music and everything he did carried the six finger family symbol. He transformed the six fine things into a family brand.”
The De Silva’s story is featured in this week’s Body Bizarre, along with the journey of the fattest man in the world, a boy from Nepal who was born with three arms and Robi David, a four-year-old with a deadly facial tumour.
Culled from http://www.mirror.co.uk/