In a first-of-its-kind occurrence, twin sisters Annemarie Atha and Geraldine Rowling, 48, did not realize that they were identical until the latter needed a liver transplant.
Geraldine and Annemarie are the first identical twins to undergo a live liver transplant in the UK. It all came about when doctors suggested to Geraldine that she be put on a liver transplant list after she was diagnosed with liver cancer a few years ago.
Ms Rowling mentioned to her doctors that she had a non-identical twin sister. Tests revealed that the twins were genetically identical despite not being similar in looks. This meant that Ms Rowling could undergo a liver transplant without the need for immunosuppressant drugs. The sisters had the surgery at St James's Hospital in April.
Surgeon Raj Prasad, who carried out the operation, said live liver transplants were getting more common and added that it was a great advantage with identical twins having the surgery, "It's an absolutely massive advantage which is God or nature's gift. It's a dream."