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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
Ohm Society
Consanguinity Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Consanguinity refers to blood relationship because of common ancestry. Everyone carries rare recessive alleles, rare genes that are generally innocuous in the heterozygous state (matching chromosomes, one from father, one from mother) but in the company of another gene of the same type are capable of causing an autosomal recessive disease. We are all reservoirs for genetic disease, but because we are genetically diverse, as long as we do not reproduce with out relatives, the chances of pairing defective genes is minimal. However, if we produce children between relatives, the chances of matching defective genes becomes much more probable. First cousins, for example, share a set of grandparents. So for any particular allele (gene) in the father, the chance that the mother inherited the same allele from the same source is 1/8. Further, for any gene the father passes to his child, the chance is 1/8 that the mother has the same gene and ½ that she transmits that gene to the child so 1/8 X ½ = 1/16. The added risks for first cousins depend also upon their genetic family histories and, in some cases, upon test results (for example, for beta thalassemia for first cousins of Italian descent). However, there are always added risks from the mating of closely related persons and those risks are signifcant. In nature, animals seem to know this instinctively and we know it by culture, intellect, and probably by instinct as well.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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