Moral issues about dating second cousins
Today, cousin marriage is on the rise in regions with a large influx of immigrants from areas where the practice is more common, such as North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Southern Asia.But in the long-term, shrinking family sizes and increased mobility in many parts of the world means that cousin marriage is likely to decline.Charles Darwin and his wife Emma were first cousins. Cultures where cousin marriage is common point to its social and economic benefits, such as strengthening family ties and keeping wealth in the family.Opponents argue that first cousin marriage increases the risk of passing on genetic abnormalities.We have that "don't care" attitude on what others say or think about our relationship, but are curious anyway. Dear Jus' need advice from a 3rd party..., Negative reactions to cousins who pair off stem largely from the belief that children from such relationships may have physical and/or mental abnormalities.Newborns with genetic disorders such as spina bifida or cystic fibrosis are more likely to be born of blood relatives because previously unexpressed recessive genes are more likely to appear.For more information about research and training opportunities at NESCent, visit
Funded by the National Science Foundation, NESCent is jointly operated by Duke University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University.Studies of cousin marriages worldwide suggest that the risks of illness and early death are three to four percent higher than in the rest of the population.But the risks apply primarily to couples who are carriers of disorders that are normally very, very rare, Bittles explained.In the absence of purging, harmful genetic variants could accumulate over time."We may be creating a problem for ourselves in future generations," Bittles said.
"For over 90% of cousin marriages, their risk [of having a child with a genetic abnormality] is the same as it is for the general population," he said.