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Kissing Cousins

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Arcane
940405.  Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:04 pm Reply with quote

Do we have a dedicated Star Trek fan page? If not, perhaps we should!

MM sat next to Wil Wheaton? Sheldon would be having the hissy fit to end all hissy fits...

 
'yorz
940408.  Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:24 pm Reply with quote

*surreptitiously hands exnihilo much-needed valerian drops*

 
Arcane
940410.  Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:41 pm Reply with quote

Back to the topic...

Just how many of the British Royal Family were/are closely related as in first cousins etc? Was it a common theme in European Royalty or just in the UK?

I'd also be interested if anyone has figures on how common first cousin marriages actually are, and what it means for any children genetics wise.

 
Strawberry
940411.  Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:45 pm Reply with quote

A few minutes ago, i remembered something from a programme that i watched in August. The programme was Channel 4's Greatest Comedy Shows and Peep Show came second. It was mentioned that when people in Peep Show kiss, they are in fact kissing the camera. And Issy Suttie (who plays Dobby) said that people sometimes ask her if she has kissed anyone while appearing in Peep Show, meaning that she has to explain that she has only ever kissed the camera.

 
suze
940413.  Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:18 pm Reply with quote

Arcane wrote:
Just how many of the British Royal Family were/are closely related as in first cousins etc? Was it a common theme in European Royalty or just in the UK?


It absolutely has been a common theme among European royalty. The Habsburg dynasty, who ran an empire from Vienna for five hundred or so years, were particularly known for marrying close relatives.

For instance, look at this family tree of part of the Spanish branch of the dynasty. Not only are there cousin marriages, but there is also an uncle/niece marriage.

Carlos II, the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, lived to the age of only 38, and had multiple disabilities. And accordingly, it is often suggested that this inbreeding was the main reason why both the Spanish and Austrian lines went extinct in the C18, leading in both cases to wars over the succession to the throne.


Arcane wrote:
I'd also be interested if anyone has figures on how common first cousin marriages actually are, and what it means for any children genetics wise.


An American professor named Robin Fox reckons that 80% of all sexual unions in the history of mankind have been between people who were second cousins or closer. Actual marriage between first cousins is really quite uncommon in the Western world, not least because it is illegal in much of the USA. In other countries rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage it is legal but rare, but it's really rather common in Muslim society.

More than half of marriages among British Pakistanis are first cousin marriages - and it is noted that genetic disorders are considerably more common among that community than in the rest of British society. A couple of Labour MPs tried to bring this issue to the public agenda, but Gordon Brown rather told them to shush.

BBC press release on the subject.

 
bemahan
940434.  Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:35 am Reply with quote

Anecdotal evidence, I know, but my sister was a paediatric nurse and spent many years working in GOSH and St Mary's Paddington on both intensive care and neonatal nurse, up to the grade of Sister. She often spoke about the high numbers of patients with problems as a result of marriage of cousins, particularly amongst the Asian community. Ironically, she went on to marry a Muslim so hopefully she spread the word amongst her in-laws about the risks of cousin marriages.

 
CB27
940516.  Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:32 am Reply with quote

If you go back to antiquity when humans lived in small groups, we would not have survived had it not been for sexual relations between first cousins and at times brothers and sisters.

As much as I personally am not comfortable with the idea of incest and such close relations between cousins, I always wondered why it's claimed to cause so many medical problems today when just a few thousand years ago it went on generation after generation and we survived?

I wonder whether the idea comes from looking at the number of people born with problems, rather than everyone on the whole?

For example, if the average percentage of people born with disabilities is something like 3% and from incestous relationships it's 6%, you could say you are twice as likely to have a child with disability, but that still leaves 94% of children unaffected, so it's really 1 in 20.


Last edited by CB27 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:35 am; edited 1 time in total

 
exnihilo
940517.  Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:33 am Reply with quote

We survived to 30, if we were lucky.

 
swot
940535.  Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:56 am Reply with quote

MinervaMoon wrote:
suze -- for whom I once demonstrated this -- can vouch for the fact that I can recite "The Trouble with Tribbles" verbatim.


How about the DS9 crossover episode Trials and Tribbleations?


I recall reading something (must do better research) that first-cousin marriages aren't enormously more risky than non-related marriage, but I don't know if that meant a one-off or if your ancestors habitually married first cousins. I saw a CBBC (or possibly Channel 5 for children) documentary about travellers (what little I saw was much more sedate that My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and more informative), in which the children being interviewed saw cousin marriage as a normal thing in their culture. Is there any data on genetic disorders of the travelling community?

 
Strawberry
940537.  Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:04 am Reply with quote

i found this about travellers.

Link

 
Arcane
940632.  Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:10 pm Reply with quote

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin_marriage#section_5


http://www.genetics.edu.au/Information/Genetics-Fact-Sheets/When-Parentsare-Relative-Consanguinity-Genetic-Testing-Screening-and-Prevention-FS16

A couple of good articles (yes I know one is Wiki but its pretty comprehensive). The Wiki one also has a link to a list or people who had "cousin" marriages, with a very long list of European Royalty.

Of interest in that list were "double first cousins" who married. Their parents are a pair of brothers and sisters who married another brother and sister, the "double cousins" were their offspring and share the same amount of genetic information as half siblings.

 
Oceans Edge
940633.  Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:26 pm Reply with quote

MinervaMoon wrote:
I am so sorry for derailing this thread; I have ~~feelings~~ about Star Trek.
suze -- for whom I once demonstrated this -- can vouch for the fact that I can recite "The Trouble with Tribbles" verbatim.

In any case, today I passed this incestuous restaurant on the way back from class.


I know it's kinda sorta a little bit spammy.... but I couldn't resist sharing this for Minerva, who loves her Tribbles, and bemahan who loves her toys

Tribble Toys
(nope I don't get any commission of even thank you for any monies made as a result of this post - it was a public service announcement only - REALLY!)

I shall go lash myself with wet noodles now..

 
CB27
953236.  Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:17 am Reply with quote

In the 2006 book, Iraq (Enchantment of the World, Second), the authors claim that traditionally in Iraq, more than half of all brides and grooms marry their first or second cousin.

This is not rare for most countries prior to the 20th century, and some historians claim that as much as 80% of all marriages in history were to first cousins.

 
tchrist
953611.  Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:42 pm Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
If you go back to antiquity when humans lived in small groups, we would not have survived had it not been for sexual relations between first cousins and at times brothers and sisters.

As much as I personally am not comfortable with the idea of incest and such close relations between cousins, I always wondered why it's claimed to cause so many medical problems today when just a few thousand years ago it went on generation after generation and we survived?

What is incest, really? It seems to depend on who’s doing the comparison. For some, it is sexual congress between two people who are related to any degree whatsoever. For others, it is only incest if it is between siblings, parents with children, or grandparents with grandchildren, and things like cousins and such don’t count.

It might be most reasonable to consider the degree of consanguinity, but few outside North Carolina seem to do so. Here is a measure of “how related” (R) two people are:
  • R = 1: identical twins
  • R = ½: parents/children, brother/sister
  • R = ¼: grandparents/grandchildren, uncle/niece, half-brother/half-sister, double first cousins
  • R = ⅛: great-grandparents/great-grandchildren, great-uncle/grand-niece, half-uncle/half-niece, first cousins
  • R = ¹⁄₁₆: first cousins once removed, double second cousins
  • R = ¹⁄₃₂: second cousins
  • R = ¹⁄₆₄: double third cousins, second cousins once removed
  • R = ¹⁄₁₂₈: third cousins, second cousins twice removed
As you see, it thins out quite quickly once you hit the cousins.

However, for people related to each other more than one way, you do have to add together all that apply. So two people (call them Frodo and Bilbo) who were each other’s first and second cousins, both once removed, would be related to each other by R = ¹⁄₁₆ + ¹⁄₆₄ = ⁵⁄₆₄, which is still less than normal first cousins at R = ⁸⁄₆₄ = ¹⁄₈, since 8 > 5.

Even that is a bit of a simplification. For examle, there are actually two kinds of double second cousins. And it gets worse: “When double second cousins (first degree) and double half second cousins are also included, (not shown), it brings the total to 6 different types. For the same reasons there are 9 possible kinds of double third cousins and 12 kinds of double fourth cousins.”

Animal breeders need to worry about these things, but people, for the most part, never do. Whether they should or not is a different question.

The legal situation of cousin marriage in the United States is surprisingly complicated.
  • Twenty-five states forbid it altogether.
  • First cousin marriage is allowed in North Carolina provided they are not double first cousins.
  • First cousin marriage is allowed in Arizona if both are 65 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.
  • First cousin marriage is allowed in Illinois if both are 50 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.
  • First cousin marriage is allowed in Indiana if both are at least 65.
  • First cousin marriage is allowed in Maine if couple obtains a physician's certificate of genetic counselling.
  • First cousin marriage is allowed in Utah if both are 65 or older, or if both are 55 or older and one is unable to reproduce.
  • First cousin marriage is allowed in Wisconsin if the woman is 55 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.
How this interacts with laws regarding gay marriage is curious at best.

 
EXE
966806.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:30 pm Reply with quote

The definition of kinship, and therefore who is and is not a cousin, is not as clear-cut as some people think! In some cultures, people that Westerners would unquestioningly consider relatives would not be considered as such (and would therefore be fair game for marriage.)

The anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan identified six types of kinship: Hawaiian, Crow, Sudanese, Iroquois, Omaha, and Eskimo. Here's a chart that explains the differences (e.g. some systems consider the children of your maternal aunts and paternal uncles to be siblings, not cousins) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kinship_Systems.svg

 

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