martes, 4 de mayo de 2010

Inbreeding in Darwin´s Own Family

During his own lifetime, Darwin specifically noted the lack of vigor in inbred plants. He consequently concluded that inbreeding might not be best for a species. However, this did not stop him from marrying his own first cousin, Emma Wedgwood.
Many ills are often associated with human inbreeding: the ease of acquiring recessive diseases and disorders, as well as infertility. In fact, 3 of Darwin´s 10 children died before the age of 10 while 3 of the remaining children that were a part of long marriages bore no children of their own.
Researchers that have studied the effects of inbreeding in the European Hapsburg family, have now taken their computer programs and applied them to the Darwin family. Their findings show that the degree of inbreeding is not excessive, but definitely increases the risk for diseases and disorders associated with inbreeding. Therefore, the health problems of the Darwin family might very well be connected to inbreeding. Looks like Darwin´s original hunch might have been right.

Zach Ming

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