Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Kissing cousins

27.09.2007
Among Bedouins, first-cousin marriages affect infant mortality -- but not as much as short birth intervals

Understanding whether inbreeding accounts for early mortality is a long-standing concern in demographic research. Analyzing Bedouin villages in Bekaa, Lebanon, in which the marriage rate among first cousins is more than twice the national average, a new study appearing in the October issue of Current Anthropology finds that the greatest single determinant of infant mortality is not closely related parents – though this does present a significant risk – but short birth intervals.

The Bekka Bedouin are Sunni Muslims. Traditionally nomadic, migrating with herds of sheep and goats to pastures in the Syrian desert, they have recently become more sedentary, though a continuing preference for kin as marriage partners – particularly ibn ‘amm (father’s brother’s son) or bint ‘amm (father’s brother’s daughter) – remains “a salient feature of Bedouin matrimonial life,” writes Suzanne E. Joseph (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth). About 47 percent of Bedouin marriages are between first cousins. Thirty-three percent are patrilateral, that is, between the children of brothers.

Analyzing a sample of 1,399 Bedouin children, Joseph examined the mortality rate for infants (

As Joseph explains, the preference for choosing relatives as marriage partners may be a default marital strategy in situations where geographic isolation restricts the size of the mating pool, such as in nomadic societies. In sedentary societies, reproductive isolation may have an economic angle, preventing the fragmentation of property or facilitating unions among the poor by allowing them to circumvent dowry payments.

“While there is a heightened risk of infant mortality associated with consanguinity, even after controlling for socioeconomic and demographic factors, there are also substantial social, economic, and emotional benefits to marrying kin,” Joseph writes. “Women in particular are able to draw upon the support of their family members after marriage, which enhances their position in the domestic unit.”

Among populations with a high level of familial endogamy, there may also be a relatively high risk of recessive disorders which develop in childhood. However, the children of Bedouin first-cousin parents were not significantly more likely to die in childhood, Joseph found.

Indeed, the most statistically significant factor in a Bedouin child’s survival – whether the child of first cousins or not – is birth interval, Joseph reveals. For every additional month that passes before the birth of the next child, the odds of infant death decrease by 3.7 percent.

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu
http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CA

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>