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Dailymall / News - Politics

Brazilian family have 12 fingers each - and put them to good use

The Da Silva family from Brazil carry an unusual genetic trait which means 14 members of the 23-strong clan have been born with 12 fingers and toes each, all of which are fully functional.

For most new parents, the news that their baby is suffering from a deformity would be devastating news.

But not the Da Silva family, from Brazil, who are proud of the fact that fourteen members of their 23-strong clan were born with six fingers and toes each - including new arrival Vinicius.

The family hopes that when he is older, he will be able to put his extra digits to good use, like brother Joao Assis who is a goalkeeper or sister Maria Morena, who uses hers to play the piano. 

While most parents would be devastated to learn their child was suffering from an abnormality, the Da Silvas hope each new addition to the family has an extra finger

Baby Vinicius is the newest addition to the 12-strong clan. His father, Alessandro, has extra fingers, while mother Katia does not, meaning he had a 50/50 chance of having the gene

The Da Silvas, who live just outside the capital Brasilia, have decided to celebrate their difference, rather than hiding it, saying it is 'a mark that nobody else has'

New father Alessandro said: 'This is a mark that no other family has, it's what makes us stand out from the crowd.'

Alessandro has six fingers, whilst his wife Katia, only has five - meaning there was a 50 per cent chance of their baby boy 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 thirteenth 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 polydactyly and is relatively common, affecting 1 in 3,000 births - though the mutation is far more common in some parts of the world than others.

Joao Assis De Silva is just one of fourteen members of his family, from Brazil, who have a fully functional extra digit on each hand. He puts his to good use goalkeeping

Morena said her piano teacher is jealous of her additional fingers because it gives her a wider reach and means she is able hit more keys

His sister Maria Morena has also found a use for her extra digits by using them to play the piano

Ana Carolina is one of 14 members of the family to have extra fingers, which is caused by a genetic condition known as polydactyly

Sylvia and Assis Da Silva. Polydactyly is relatively common, affecting 1 in 3,000 births, though it is far more common in some parts of the world than others

But while most people born with additional fingers or toes will not be able to use them, the DA Silvas are unusual because all of their digits are fully functional.  

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 hinderance - 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 thing about having six fingers is I can play more keys [on the piano].

An x-ray showing that the Da Silvas fingers are formed exactly like a healthy digit

The condition also affects the family's feet, giving them an extra toe on each foot

While most cases of polydactyly give an additional digit on the outside of the hand, the Da Silvas have the digit between their index finger and thumb

On the feet, the addition toe is located between the big toe and the second toe

And goalkeeper Joao Assis 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 Assis 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 thing 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. 

Body Bizarre is on Thursdays at 10pm on TLC UK