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Consanguinity in Context

Series: Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology Volume: 63

By: Alan H Bittles

350 pages, 4 colour & 14 b/w illustrations, 53 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | May 2012 | #195852 | ISBN-13: 9780521781862
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £75.99 $97/€85 approx

About this book

An essential guide to this major contemporary issue, "Consanguinity in Context" is a uniquely comprehensive account of intra-familial marriage. Detailed information on past and present religious, social and legal practices and prohibitions is presented as a backdrop to the preferences and beliefs of the 1100+ million people in consanguineous unions. Chapters on population genetics, and the role of consanguinity in reproductive behaviour and genetic variation, set the scene for critical analyses of the influence of consanguinity in the early years of life.

The discussion on consanguinity and disorders of adulthood is the first review of its kind and is particularly relevant given the ageing of the global population. Incest is treated as a separate issue, with historical and present-day examples examined. The final three chapters deal in detail with practical issues, including genetic testing, education and counselling, national and international legislation and imperatives, and the future of consanguineous marriage worldwide.


1. Consanguineous marriage, past and present
2. Religious attitudes and rulings on consanguineous marriage
3. Civil legislation on consanguineous and affinal marriage
4. Consanguinity: the scientific and medical debates of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
5. Demographic and socioeconomic aspects of consanguineous marriage
6. A population genetics perspective on consanguinity
7. Consanguinity and reproductive behaviour
8. Consanguinity and metrical traits at birth and in childhood
9. Consanguinity and pre-reproductive mortality
10. Consanguinity and morbidity in early life
11. Consanguinity and disorders of adulthood
12. Incest
13. Genetic screening, education and counselling in consanguineous marriage
14. Whither consanguineous marriage?
15. Consanguinity in context


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Alan H. Bittles is Research Leader at the Centre for Comparative Genomics, Murdoch University and Adjunct Professor of Community Genetics at Edith Cowan University, Australia.

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