Study reveals congenital anomalies linked to consanguine marriages

A study conducted in the U.K. throws light over the suspicion those marriages b/w blood relations might lead to health issues for the child. The study, in a detailed analysis of the issue involving over 11,000 children, born out of consanguineous marriages, revealed congenital anomalies in 386 of them. This figure of 3% is in contrasts with the 1.6% in children born of out of non-blood-relations unions. The researchers termed the babies analyzed under the study as “Born in Bradford” to obtain these results. Bradford is a small area in the UK where Pakistani Muslims constitute 16.8 per cent of the population. A close knit group, they practice consanguinity; 75% of them marry first cousins.

What can be the possible defects in babies born through consanguine marriages?

These babies could have a multiplicity of congenital problems. Heart problems top the list, followed by nervous disorders, limb anomalies and so forth.

Why problems occur in babies born through consanguine marriages ?

The problem in such close relative marriages surfaces when one of the partners carries a defect in any of the genes associated with some form of illness. When a person marries within the community with one who may also have such a family defect, the child inherits two copies of this faulty gene, and thus has the defect. But when a person marries outside the community, he/she bring in genes from a much larger gene pool, and the odds that the child will inherit the problem reduce remarkably.