'Kissing cousins can have healthy kids'
Sanjay Jha | June 5, 2008 at 03:05 amby
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The marriage between close relatives were always considered genetically bad and doctors advised agaisnt it. But this new revelation might give hope to people wanting to marry their close relatives.
The belief that babies born to first-cousins will suffer from some kind of deformities is all a myth, say researchers in Australia.
According to an earlier Australian research published in 2001, babies born to first-cousins are nearly three times more likely to have serious birth defects. But professor Alan Bittles, a director at the Centre for Comparative Genomics at Murdoch University, who has spent 30 years researching the topic, says most children born to first cousins are healthy.
"In western culture there is a general belief that first cousin marriages lead to negative genetic outcomes, yet a large majority of children born to first cousins are healthy," he said.
Bittles reviewed 48 studies from 11 countries and found that the risks of birth defects rose from about 2% in the general population to 4% in consanguineous or same blood couples.
He found that only 1.2% suffered higher infant mortality rates, a find similar to another review from 2002 that suggested first-cousin children are less than 3% more likely to have genetic deformities.