|Identical twins: Jasmine, left, and Amelia Appleby have just celebrated their first birthday|
Amelia and Jasmine Appleby, who have just celebrated their first birthday, are thought to be the first 'black and white' genetically identical twins born in the UK. Despite coming from the same egg, the siblings look strikingly different and are often mistaken for step-sisters.
Amelia was born with dark skin, black hair and brown eyes, while Jasmine emerged with fair skin, blue eyes and mousey curls. The siblings, who have identical genetics, are thought to be first of their kind in the country.
Today, their mother, Libby Appleby, told of how she was warned that her babies would be almost impossible to tell apart ahead of their birth .
|Family: The adorable sisters are pictured with their mother, Libby Appleby, and father, Tafadzwa Madzimbamuto|
The 37-year-old said she was told by doctors that the sisters would look so similar they would need to be 'marked with ink' to tell them apart. But when they arrived, even the medics were shocked, she said. "When they were born, we were flabbergasted, even the doctors couldn't believe it," said Ms Appleby. "They look like they're different races. "Amelia is the spitting image of her dad, while Jasmine is a mini version of me."
The mum, who lives in West Rainton, County Durham, with her longtime partner, Tafadzwa Madzimbamuto, added that strangers often assume their daughters are step-sisters. "We get a lot of funny looks when we tell people the girls are actually identical," she said.
|Contrasting appearances: Amelia, left, was born with dark skin, black hair and brown eyes, while Jasmine emerged with fair skin, blue eyes and mousey curls|
Ms Appleby and Mr Madzimbamuto, 40, an electrical engineer, found out they were expecting in June 2014. Three months later, they were told it was twins and medics at University Durham Hospital warned them their children would be so identical they would be tricky to tell apart.
Ms Appleby said medics 'gasped' when they delivered the twins - who are monozygotic, meaning they were formed in the same embryo but developed in separate sacs.
She added: "We put them next to each other in a cot and couldn't believe how different they were. "Amelia was so much darker than Jasmine, they barely even looked related. "Doctors told us the chances of conceiving mixed race twins are one in a million.
|Proud parents: Ms Appleby was warned by medics that her daughters would be so identical they would be tricky to tell apart|
"We were thrilled they were so unique." A sample of Ms Appleby's placenta confirmed that the twins are 100 per cent genetically identical, despite their contrasting appearances.
"I don't blame strangers for thinking they aren't sisters, because they do look nothing alike," the mother said. "The girls are just noticing the difference in their skin colour now, but they're so wonderful and unique.
"Looking back, it's funny that we were worried we'd never tell them apart."