The surprising truth about cousins and marriage In modern western society, marrying your cousin is not well accepted, particularly in the United States. Through a combination of old prejudices and presentday conventional wisdom about inherited birth defects, first cousin marriage is seen by many as a little too close for comfort, as well as a bad idea if you want children. However, first cousin marriage is far more common, and far less dangerous, than many.

Of us have been led to believe, as youll soon see. further, if you include second cousins in the mix, according to the al Genetics Handbook, the increased risks with regards to having children are nearly nonexistent in this case compared with noncousin marriage. So where did the taboo against cousin marriage start? While there have been instances of the banning of marriage between cousins at various points through history, such as the Roman Catholics banning the practice for a time starting with the Council of Agde in.

506 ad, for the most part marriage among cousins has been popular as long as people have been getting married. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 80% of the marriages in human history have been between first or second cousins. This switch in cousinmarriages acceptance began in earnest in some parts of the Western world in the mid19th century. Specifically, until the 1860s or so, first cousins commonly married in Europe and the U.S. In fact, Charles Darwin, Mr. Natural Selection himself, was.

Married to his first cousin emma wedgwood. nonetheless, the practice soon fell out of fashion in the United States. Although never outlawed in England, during the second half of the 19th century, many states began to ban marriages between first cousins, as part of a larger movement after the Civil War for greater state involvement in a variety of areas, including education, health and safety. Researchers note that the distinction in marriage bans between England and the U.S. may be explained by the fact that, in the United States, the.

Practice was associated not with the aristocracy and upper middle class queen victoria and Prince Albert were second cousins but with much easier targets: immigrants and the rural poor. Regardless, cousin marriage bans began popping up across the states, with the first in Kansas in 1858. Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming banned the practice in the 1860s, and many more had enacted bans by the 1920s. The most recent state to ban cousin marriage was Texas.

In 2005. today, first cousin marriage is only allowed without restriction in 19 states, and with some restrictions in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Utah, Wisconsin and North Carolina (in North Carolina, while first cousins may marry, double cousins may not more on this one in a bit.) The distinction lies in the debate about whether or not there is an increased risk that the partners shared genes will produce an increased chance that their offspring will have recessive,.

Undesirable traits. a recent report on births in a britishpakistani community (where first cousin marriage is very common) demonstrated that first cousin children there were twice as likely to be born with potentially life threatening birth defects as compared with the children of unrelated parents. Advocates on the other side point out that this resulted in only a 6% chance for the children in the study, as compared with a 3% chance for the population as a whole. For your reference, this increase in birth defect.

Rate is about the same as the increased risk of a woman having a baby when she is 40 vs. when she is 30. Proponents here point out that few would advocate banning a 40 year old woman from having children. They also point to recent testing that placed the increased risk of spina bifida and cystic fibrosis at only 1.7% to 2.8% higher than for children of unrelated parents. Further, researchers point out that the widely accepted scare stories even within academia and the belief that cousin marriage is inevitably.

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