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Why Does Honey Boo Boo’s Niece Have Three Thumbs?

It’s been a few weeks since Here Comes Honey Boo Boo go-go juiced her way onto TLC’s Wednesday nights, but the pageant girl and her over-the-top family have hypnotized millions of viewers with their belly slaps, mud wrestling, and cheese ball consumption. But it’s not all redneck glitz: There have been allegations slung at matriarch June Shannon.

In addition to an arrest record, The National Enquirer claims Honey Boo Boo’s Mama has made fun of granddaughter Kaitlyn for having an extra thumb on her right hand. In a recent interview with People, June denied mocking Kaitlyn, saying, "We have embraced [the abnormality]. It makes Kaitlyn more special to us."

So what caused Kaitlyn to be born with an extra digit? It’s possible she has a condition known as polydactylism, or an anomaly where a person is born with extra fingers or toes. Even though Kaitlyn’s aunt Pumpkin has been caughtfeeding the baby Mountain Dew, polydactylism is congenital — meaning it occurs before birth.

The condition is often inherited — though it can occur through random gene mutation. Polydactylism might occur along with other symptoms or can present in an otherwise healthy person. Because it is a dominant mutation, a child has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutated gene.

Kaitlyn’s mother, Anna, has not said who the baby’s father is, so it’s unclear if polydactylism runs in either family (or if they’re related to Count Rugen).

Sources: University of Maryland Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine

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08.30.2012 / 03:19 AM EDT by Jenny McGrath
Related: News, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Reality Gossip

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