Cousin dating our cousins

"Women over the age of 40 have a similar risk of having children with birth defects and no one is suggesting they should be prevented from reproducing," said Professor Spencer, whose co-authored study is published in the online journal Public Library of Science.

First-cousin marriages were once quite common in Europe, especially among the elite – Charles Darwin married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood – but that changed in the late 19th-century as people, especially women, became more socially mobile and the risks became more evident.

[I Don't: 5 Myths About Marriage] Yet some research suggests an alternative perspective.

"There's this counterintuitive finding that higher spousal relatedness is related to higher reproductive success in several humans societies," said Drew Bailey, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and co-author of the study detailed May 21 in the journal Biology Letters.

Pairing with close kin is known to reduce genetic diversity, which can result in the accumulation of severe and sometimes lethal mutations.

For example, groups that commonly practiced intermarriage between relatives, like the British monarchy, had children with all sorts of nasty genetic problems.

Marrying a cousin is usually considered a bad idea, because inbreeding can lead to harmful genetic conditions.

But paradoxically, in some societies, marrying a related spouse is linked to having more surviving children, research suggests.

However, Professors Paul and Spencer said that the risk of congenital defects is about 2 per cent higher than average for babies born to first-cousin marriages – with the infant mortality about 4.4 per cent higher – which is on a par with the risk to babies born to women over 40.In traditional residential societies, couples who were more closely related to each other had more children.By contrast, in migrant societies, related spouses had fewer direct descendants, the research revealed.So why all the fuss today about people marrying first cousins? Perhaps one of the best ways to look at this question is to consider the purpose for the Tree of Life.Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden so that they would not have access to the Tree of Life and thus become immortal sinners .

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The book of Revelation tells us that we will one day be restored to the Tree of Life and its special properties will give us eternal life.

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  1. Fingers crossed there is still an option for a few beers in a pub. Whatifi Fresh out of the packet – this app describes itself as ‘the event and location-based social reconnection app’.