Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mating with relatives

Johann Sebastian Bach, Edgar Allan Poe, and Albert Einstein all married cousins. Maybe these creative geniuses were on to something. A new study suggests that mating with relatives has reproductive advantages.
Many societies regard inbreeding as taboo. Research seems to back this up, showing that children of related couples are more likely to inherit two copies of disease-causing recessive genes. Other work, however, has shown a positive outcome--namely, that married cousins have more children. But those studies--carried out in India and Pakistan--have not been conclusive because the data are hard to disentangle from social and economic factors. For example, poorer women tend not only to marry relatives but also to marry at a younger age, leaving more (read more>>)

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