Thanks for sending this article. This shows how wrong science is, it changes its mind from time to time. A few years ago, we used to hear that cousin marriages were "very harmful" which now seems is all wrong.
There is nothing wrong in cousin marriages nor in marrying in a small genetic pool - all excuses touted by the inter-marrieds to justify their own personal inter-marriages. This article is a verbal SLAP in the face of the inter-marrieds.
Today, science is also saying that the sick act of homosexuality is "normal", an act that for thousands of years has been considered to be a sin in all the religions in this world, because it defies the law of nature itself. Tomorrow, science will turn around and admit that is wrong.
A New York Times article by Denise Grady, titled "Cousin marriages aren't harmful, geneticists say BIRTH-DEFECT RISKS CALLED LOW DESPITE LONGSTANDING U.S. TABOO" was reproduced in San Jose Mercury News of April 4, 2002. Given below for your information, are excerpts from that article.
Contrary to widely held beliefs and longstanding taboos in America, first cousins can have children together without a great risk of birth defects or genetic disease, scientists are reporting today. They say there is no strong biological reason to discourage cousins from marrying.
First cousins are somewhat more likely than unrelated parents to have a child with a serious birth defect, mental retardation or genetic disease, but their increased risk is nowhere near as large as most people think, the scientists said.
In the general population, the risk that a child will be born with a serious problem like spina bifida or cystic fibrosis is 3 to 4 percent. To that initial risk, first cousins must add an additional 1.7 to 2.8 percentage points, the researchers said.
Although the increase represents a near doubling of the risk, the result is still not considered large enough to discourage people from having children, said Dr. Arno Motulsky, an emeritus professor of medicine and genome sciences at the University of Washington, and the senior author of the report.
``In terms of general risks in life, it's not very high,'' Motulsky said. His report is being published today in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.
He and his colleagues said no one questioned the right of other people to have children, even though they have far higher levels of risk than first cousins. For example, people with Huntington's disease, a severe neurological disorder that comes on in adulthood, have a 50 percent chance of passing the disease to their children.
The researchers, a panel convened by the National Society of Genetic Counselors, based their conclusions on a review of six major studies conducted from 1965 to August 2000, involving many thousands of births.
Motulsky said medical geneticists had known for a long time that there was little or no harm in cousins' marrying and having children. ``Somehow, this hasn't become general knowledge,'' he said, even among doctors.
Twenty-four states have laws forbidding first cousins to marry, and seven states have limits such as requiring genetic counseling. In California, such marriages are legal between cousins of the opposite sex, according to CousinCouples.com (www.cousincouples.com), a Web site that seeks to assist cousins who want to marry. The California Family Code prohibits several types of intrafamily marriage, but not marriages between cousins.
No countries in Europe have such prohibitions, and in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, marriages between cousins are considered preferable. ``In some parts of the world,'' the report says, ``20 to 60 percent of all marriages are between close biological relatives.''........
It is not known how many cousins marry or live together. Estimates of marriages between related people, which include first cousins and more distant ones, range from less than 0.1 percent of the general population to 1.5 percent. In the past, small studies have found much higher rates in some areas: A survey in 1942 found 18.7 percent in a small town in Kentucky, and a 1980 study found 33 percent in a Mennonite community in Kansas......."
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