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The impact of consanguinity on the Indian population

Medknow Publications


Numerous studies have been conducted by Indian anthropologists into the prevalence of both consanguineous and affinal marriage.1-3 and the topic of consanguinity continues to attract great attention among geneticists and social scientists. The strengthening of family relationships is of primary importance in the preference for close kin unions, with economic benefits an additional consideration. Consanguinity does not appear to adversely affect human fertility. However, both postnatal morbidity and mortality are increased, with greatest effect so far observed in the early years of life. With declining mortality and morbidity due to infectious disease, recessive genetic disorders will progressively gain greater prominence in the overall spectrum of ill-health. This change will be especially obvious in communities which practise consanguineous marriage, and in small highly endogamous communities where random drift occurs.

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