Journal of Community Genetics

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 13–19 | Cite as

Consanguinity and genetic diseases among the Bedouin population in the Negev

  • Sarah Singer
  • Nadav Davidovitch
  • Yasmeen Abu Fraiha
  • Naim Abu FrehaEmail author


Arab Bedouins (AB) in Israel are traditionally a semi-nomadic population. Their average birth rate is extremely high (birth rate of 5.43, as well is their high consanguinity rate (44%), despite having decreased from 60% in 1992. Additionally, their mean inbreeding coefficient is 0.0238.The high rate of consanguinity results in a high prevalence of recessive genetic and multifactorial disorders as well as high infant mortality rate (11 per 1000 live births). Various genetic diseases are prevalent in AB, exemplifying how extensive the impact of consanguinity is on the community. Targeted screening programs are provided for prevalent severe genetic diseases. However, despite initial success, genetic screening is still underutilized in AB. AB, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and different social associations should plan and manage programmed interventions. These programs should work intensively to further educate and raise awareness regarding consanguinity and its potential harms, to increase trust and collaboration between the community and the public health system, to expand screening and premarital consultations, and to create a genetic bank (specific mutations/whole genome) for the AB community.


Genetic diseases Bedouin Negev CIPA Consanguinity Infant mortality 



The study was carried out during a summer workshop on Global Health at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Author contributions

Acquisition of data: Singer S, Abu Fraiha Y, Abu Freha N.

Analysis and interpretation of data: Davidovitch N, Abu Freha, N.

Drafting of manuscript: Singer S, Abu Freha, N.

Critical revision: Singer S, Davidovitch N, Abu Fraiha Y, Abu Freha N.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was not obtained, because it is a review article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Singer
    • 1
  • Nadav Davidovitch
    • 2
  • Yasmeen Abu Fraiha
    • 3
  • Naim Abu Freha
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Global Health ProgramBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Health Systems Management, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health SciencesBen Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael
  3. 3.Internal Medicine Ward B, Genesis for Community Health Ltd. (CC)Soroka University Medical CenterBeershebaIsrael
  4. 4.The Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Soroka University Medical Center and the Faculty of Health SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael
  5. 5.Arab Medical Association in the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

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