Erica and Jessica Cutler are roommates, competitors, best friends and twins.
“Usually we have a basic understanding between the two of us,” elementary education sophomore Jessica Cutler said, who is a member of the women’s swim team with her sister Erica. “It’s not like twin telepathy, it’s just from being around each other so much.”
One in every 30 babies born in the U.S. in 2009 was a twin, according to a study by Barbara Luke, a researcher in the College of Human Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. Luke presented her research April 1-4 in Florence, Italy, at the 14th Congress of the International Society of Twin Studies, according to a press release.
Richard Leach, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, said Luke studies reproductive technologies, birth outcomes and other pregnancy traits, and the physical effects of those variables on mothers and children.
Luke could not be reached for comment, and Leach said she currently is traveling from the conference.
Luke found fertility-enhancing treatments and the increasing age women became pregnant to be the primary cause of the increasing frequency of twin births.
“Her vast knowledge and experience in twin research looks at the opportunity to look at the outcomes of multiple pregnancies,” Leach said.
The Cutlers were both surprised to hear the results of the study, and Erica said she would have guessed the statistic would be more like one in 100, even though they have grown up around other sets of twins.
“I knew probably five or six sets of twins growing up,” Jessica Cutler said. “My mom actually put us in an ‘all-twins’ type of class.”
For the Cutlers, growing up together wasn’t enough. Both decided to attend MSU and are rooming together this year and next year.
They have a lot in common, including their participation on the swim team, friend circles and similar interests, such as shoes, movies and music, Jessica said.
“We have the same friend groups, but we have enough friends to get away and give each other space,” dietetics sophomore Erica Cutler said.
Although they’re not often pegged as twins, Andrew and Alexandra Howe also have spent their entire lives together, and both attend MSU.
General management freshman Alexandra said attending MSU was a decision they made individually, and it worked out for the best.
She said now they are even in the same economics and math class, have the same circle of friends and both participate in the greek system. Come the weekend, they both explore the city’s nightlife.
“We are just … really close,” Alexandra Howe said. “It’s nice to know that he and his friends are watching out for me when I go out at night.”
Their journey together almost ended when supply chain management freshman Andrew was accepted to the university and Alexandra was deferred. It was a happy chance when she finally was accepted for the fall semester and had the opportunity to experience college alongside her brother.