NYT: Cousin Marriage A'OK, Says Study

April 3, 2002 4:10 PM   Subscribe

NYT: Cousin Marriage A'OK, Says Study
    A new article in the Journal of Genetic Counseling reviewing recent studies on incidence of birth defects among children of cousins finds that the increaed risk is so slight as to not warrant discouraging cousin marriage. Discouraging marriage and conception between first cousins is common in the US although in many societies, the first (cross) cousin is the preferred spouse. (1, 2)
posted by rschram (13 comments total)
finally I can claim this new world and begin a dynasty as pure as god's heaven (I am the wrath of god)
posted by Settle at 4:25 PM on April 3, 2002

So, we just imagined that all those Southerners were...oh. forget it.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:47 PM on April 3, 2002

This message from the Wisconsin Bureau of Tourism
posted by Settle at 5:10 PM on April 3, 2002

For more info about marrying your extra-hot cousin...
posted by websavvy at 5:24 PM on April 3, 2002

When I teach Victorian fiction, I always have large quantities of grossed-out students in shock at how casually these novels discuss first-cousin marriage. Now I can point them to this article :)
posted by thomas j wise at 5:50 PM on April 3, 2002

Greta Scacchi is married to & has a child with her cousin. Just to throw it out there for ya.
posted by macadamiaranch at 6:51 PM on April 3, 2002

I just read "The Arabian Nights" a little while ago, and in almost every story someone married a cousin. It was always the daughter of his father's brother. It's a little unnerving at first, but I got used to it.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:10 PM on April 3, 2002

rschram, I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of your provocative claims, but after that link (1), I'm a believer!

Now, if I could just find me a bunny...
posted by glennie at 8:36 PM on April 3, 2002

rschram: (1) is very, very funny. Thanks.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:54 PM on April 3, 2002

Best quote,
"Mr. T. asked that his name not be used, because he does business in a small town and fears that he will lose customers if they find out that his wife is also his cousin"

I pity the fool!
posted by Outlawyr at 5:42 AM on April 4, 2002

Crazy Southerners.
posted by ncurley at 6:31 AM on April 4, 2002

That article has the same stats that I've always heard for increased risk of marrying relatives (another couple percentage points, possibly as much as doubling chances of defects). Of course, our revulsion to incest goes beyond dangers of breeding, as non-reproductive couples who are related freak us out, and like the article pointed out, we don't outlaw people with other reasons to be concerned about the chance of defects from having children.

Since it's all about recessive genes, it would presumably increase chances of some positive traits that depend on recessive genes. Just marrying within your race / tribe etc increases some chance of recessive genetic characteristics being passed on... And obviously cousins marrying was for a long time considered pretty normal, probably since people didn't move about much and so many of your neighbors were somehow related to you. I don't really see a need for a law against it but I like the fact that the taboo means there are some relationships that are simply off limits to sexualization.
posted by mdn at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2002

What is this Shelbyville?
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:07 PM on April 4, 2002

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