Consanguineous marriages, pearls and perils: Geneva International Consanguinity Workshop Report

  title={Consanguineous marriages, pearls and perils: Geneva International Consanguinity Workshop Report},
  author={Hanan A. Hamamy and Stylianos E. Antonarakis and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Samia Ali Temtamy and Giovanni Romeo and Leo P. ten Kate and Robin L Bennett and Alison Shaw and Andr{\'e} M{\'e}garban{\'e} and Cornelia van Duijn and Heli Bathija and Siv Fokstuen and Eric Engel and Jo{\"e}l Zlotogora and Emmanouil T. Dermitzakis and Armand Bottani and Sophie P Dahoun and Michael A. Morris and Steve Arsenault and Mona S. Aglan and Mubasshir Ajaz and Ayad Alkalamchi and Dhekra Alnaqeb and Mohamed K Alwasiyah and Nawfal Anwer and Rawan Abu Awwad and Melissa Bonnefin and Peter C Corry and Lorraine Gwanmesia and Gulshan A Karbani and M R Mostafavi and Tommaso Pippucci and Emmanuelle Ranza-Boscardin and Bruno Reversade and Saghira Malik Sharif and Marieke E. Teeuw and Alan H. Bittles},
  journal={Genetics in Medicine},
Approximately 1.1 billion people currently live in countries where consanguineous marriages are customary, and among them one in every three marriages is between cousins. Opinions diverge between those warning of the possible health risks to offspring and others who highlight the social benefits of consanguineous marriages. A consanguinity study group of international experts and counselors met at the Geneva International Consanguinity Workshop from May 3 2010, to May 7, 2010, to discuss the… 

Consanguinity: A blessing or menace at population level?

Although consanguinity, from an evolutionary point of view, is beneficial at the population level, it increases the risk of diseases in the very next generation and nonconsanguineous marriages are a better strategy by which the authors may delay disease manifestation for some generations until science offers a viable solution.

Consanguinity and genetic disorders in Egypt

An overall view of the current situation regarding consanguinity in the Egyptian population and its relevance to genetic disorders is given including personal experience at the Human Genetics and Genome Research Division at the National Research Centre.

Consanguineous marriages profile in the Tanger-Tetouan region in Morocco

The study revealed a highly significant difference in the rates of the consanguineous marriages between the current and previous generation p< 0,001.


The trends reported constitute putative signals of generational change in the marital choices in this community and enhance genetic stratification, thereby increasing rates of genomic homozygosity and the increased expression of recessive genetic disorders.

Consanguinity rates among Syrian refugees in Lebanon: a study on genetic awareness.

The high rates of consanguinity in these Syrian refugees call for immediate action, including raising genetic awareness and providing appropriate genetic counselling, underscoring the importance of providing better education to these refugees.

Consanguineous marriage in Oman: understanding the community awareness about congenital effects of and attitude towards consanguineous marriage.

The survey results indicate a very high rate of consanguineous marriage in Oman and there is a declining trend in consanguinity which may be attributed to decline in first cousin marriage.

Education and Consanguineous Marriage

At least one of every five marriages is consanguineous (between couples who are second cousins or closer) in the Middle East and North Africa, and the rate is higher than 50 percent in some parts of

Consanguineous marriage in Oman: understanding the community awareness about congenital effects of and attitude towards consanguineous marriage

The positive attitude of the Omani community towards consanguinity outweighs the negative health consequences of consanguineous marriage, and the practice is likely to remain high in the near future.

Potential social, economic and general health benefits of consanguineous marriage: results from the Born in Bradford cohort study.

Debate about consanguinity should balance the potential protective effect of consanguineous relationships with established genetic risk of congenital anomaly in children.



Consanguineous marriages in Beirut: time trends, spatial distribution.

A health survey of the city of Beirut, undertaken from July 1, 1983, to August 31, 1984, covered 13,736 individuals, comprising 3033 ever- married women who provided information on their marriage and the kinship between the spouses, as well as on the religion, educational and occupational status of their husbands.

Prevalence of consanguineous marriages in Syria.

First cousin marriages were the most common type of consanguineous marriages, followed by double first cousin marriages and second cousin marriages, and beyond second cousin was the least common type.

Consanguineous marriages in Jordan: why is the rate changing with time?

First‐cousin marriage rate among a representative population from Amman showed a significant decline among marriages contracted after 1980 compared to marriages contracted between 1950 and 1979, but not to marriages contracts before 1950.

Reproductive behavior and health in consanguineous marriages

In many regions of Asia and Africa, consanguineous marriages currently account for approximately 20 to 50% of all unions, and preliminary observations indicate that migrants from these areas continue

Consanguinity, Genetic Drift, and Genetic Diseases in Populations with Reduced Numbers of Founders

The present chapter first considers the concepts of random and assortative mating and then examines demographic, social, economic, and religious variables that influence the prevalence of preferred types of consanguineous marriage, as well as the effects of Consanguinity on human mate choice, reproductive success, and reproductive compensation.


Specific health education, and genetic counselling in particular, are suggested to explain the consequences of consanguinity to the general population and to help couples make informed choices.


The study confirms the inverse association between consanguineous marriages and women’s education and occupation, age at marriage and economic status, and no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of consanguinity has been found by place of residence and geographical region.

Genetic Counseling and Screening of Consanguineous Couples and Their Offspring: Recommendations of the National Society of Genetic Counselors

The consensus of the CWG and NSGC reviewers is that beyond a thorough medical family history with follow-up of significant findings, no additional preconception screening is recommended for consanguineous couples.

Consanguinity, human evolution, and complex diseases

A range of primarily social factors, including urbanization, improved female education, and smaller family sizes indicate that the global prevalence of consanguineous unions will decline, which will initially result in decreased homozygosity, accompanied by a reduction in the expression of recessive single-gene disorders.