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Study: Darwin was right to worry that marriage to his cousin affected his offspring
Date:5/3/2010

d scarlet fever the cause of the children's deaths. Previous research has suggested that one consequence of inbreeding could be a higher susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Darwin didn't know about human genes, but he was such a good scientist, Berra said, that he was ahead of his time in linking his finding in plants to his own family.

"He was the one who developed this concept of inbreeding depression a reduction in offspring and therefore had enough information to begin to wonder about his own marriage and his children's health," Berra said.

The apparent infertility of three of the six surviving Darwin children will remain a mystery, Berra said. But population studies have suggested that statistically, offspring of consanguineous marriages are at higher risk for infertility.

"We can't really say they didn't leave offspring because they were the product of a cousin marriage. On the other hand, being the product of cousin marriage does have this infertility component. So one of six, you wouldn't worry. Two, there seems to be a chance this is the reason. Three out of six didn't leave offspring, so that's a fairly strong possibility," Berra said.


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Contact: Tim Berra
berra.1@osu.edu
419-755-4310
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4

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