Thursday, April 4, 2019

Consanguinity Genetics

Nowadays many people see consanguineous (blood-related) couples as a taboo. It is illegal in many countries to marry close relatives or first degree family members, but marriage within cousins, second cousins, extended family etc, are common in many cultures. The most argued reason why consanguineous marriage should not be allowed has being the clinical consequences to the offspring. People relate this type of unions to disease and malformations, but they are misinformed about the topic.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (cousins) and 5 of their 9 children. 

Articles on human genetics note that people from a recent common ancestor have the same genetic pool, meaning that they might posses more equal genes or share genetic information. Disease, morbidity, and mortality usually come from recessive genes. With consanguineous couples there is more chances of their children being homozygous on recessive genes, or the probability of  occurrence of certain genotypes is increased. Genetic counseling is very helpful to evaluate and understand the risks of medical conditions that might be caused in a blood-related union.
We all carry recessive genes and are all at risk of having children with certain diseases. Ultimately what matters the most is the well being of your offspring; if there isn't any risk, then nothing should stop you from marrying your cousin.


1 comment:

  1. One of the most controversial topics on this blog. In this culture people are against marriages between first, second cousins and extended family. And it is understandable, after all why marry your cousin when there are so many single people in the world. Those type of marriages were necessary in different times and it seemed appropriate. In many cultures as you say even today, marriages among cousins is not only accepted but also preferred for various reasons such as you know the family and that person, while you can't get to really know someone out of your family instill you are married which is too late sometimes. Whether we are for those marriages or agains it is up to us, but it is important to understand that disease and mortality do come from recessive genes usually, and the genes and blood type can be checked before marriage to prevent those cases like many people do. Also people who are not related also can produce a child that carries a disease. Those opposing ,argue that cousins have higher chance of producing a sick child. This argument can be quickly canceled by the number( millions) of healthy children living all around the world that come from cousins.
    I am personally against marriages between cousins for myself, but don't pass a judgment on those who are for.
    Great topic