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[I Don't: 5 Myths About Marriage] Yet some research suggests an alternative perspective."There's this counterintuitive finding that higher spousal relatedness is related to higher reproductive success in several humans societies," said Drew Bailey, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and co-author of the study detailed May 21 in the journal Biology Letters.
Such legislation reflects outmoded prejudices about immigrants and the rural poor and relies on over-simplified views of heredity.
The book of Revelation tells us that we will one day be restored to the Tree of Life and its special properties will give us eternal life.
We are also told that the leaves of that tree are for the healing of the nations.
"Women over the age of 40 have a similar risk of having children with birth defects and no one is suggesting they should be prevented from reproducing," said Professor Spencer, whose co-authored study is published in the online journal Public Library of Science.
First-cousin marriages were once quite common in Europe, especially among the elite – Charles Darwin married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood – but that changed in the late 19th-century as people, especially women, became more socially mobile and the risks became more evident.
The risk of giving birth to babies with genetic defects as a result of marriages between first cousins is no greater than that run by women over 40 who become pregnant, according to two scientists who call for the taboo on first-cousin families to be lifted.