Genetic Counseling for Couples Who are First Cousins
It is general knowledge that parents should not be related to each other. This is based in part on hearsay information which suggests that related parents are more likely than unrelated couples to have mentally retarded offspring. The legislatures in most states in the United States have passed laws which prohibit marriage between first cousins (1). Consanguinity is rare in the United States; less than 1 in 1,000 couples are first cousins. Yet, each year several couples who are first cousins come to our Genetics Clinic for information about their risks of having abnormal or handicapped children. These consultations have prompted us to review the data available for defining the magnitude of the risk faced by these couples. While several studies have been conducted on the effects of inbreeding (2), it is difficult to translate this data to information useful to these couples.
KeywordsGenetic Counseling Recessive Gene Genetic Clinic Handicapped Child Mental Deficiency
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