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Consanguinity in Context

$84.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology

  • Author: Alan H. Bittles, Murdoch University, Western Australia and Edith Cowan University, Western Australia
  • Date Published: May 2012
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139415262

$ 84.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • 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 on health 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.

    • Written in a clear and jargon-free manner - amenable to specialists and non-specialists alike
    • Detailed information provided in tabular form and supported by an extensive bibliography - meets the needs of specialist researchers and postgraduates
    • Provides a detailed description of the religious, political and legal backgrounds to cousin marriage - explains many of the misunderstandings and contradictions in the current consanguinity debate
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… packed with carefully collated information, covering all aspects of consanguineous marriage … The compilation is exhaustive, fascinating and rigorously discussed … There is so much information here, but it is all relevant, well-validated, significant and stimulating … amazingly comprehensive, and yet readable … this book is exactly what is needed to clarify discussions and debates about consanguinity. It deserves to be influential in scientific, political and religious thinking.' BioNews (

    '… a comprehensive, balanced overview of consanguinity … this book treats consanguinity like a prism - turning the subject this way and that to capture different reflections, both positive and negative … Packed with fascinating facts on the history of consanguinity, and statistics comparing practices and resources between countries, Consanguinity in Context makes for 'must read' material on a complex, often controversial, issue.' OrphaNews Europe

    'I found Alan Bittles' book to be extremely fascinating. Bittles provides an eye-opening and exhaustive review of the political, religious, economic, social, and biological factors impinging on consanguineous unions. His goal for this work is well summarized at the end of chapter one: '… to provide an appropriately extensive framework of information within which the subject [of consanguineous unions] can be rationally and dispassionately evaluated'. Consanguinity in Context admirably fulfils this objective.' Jamie Schwendinger-Schreck, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

    'This book is a treasure trove of information and anecdotes on consanguineous unions.' Elof Axel Carlson, The Quarterly Review of Biology

    'Consanguinity in Context is a rich, well-structured, well-written, convincing, and in many details astonishing book recommendable for students as well as for scholarly work.' Anthropos

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2012
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139415262
    • contains: 14 b/w illus. 4 colour illus. 53 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    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

  • Author

    Alan H. Bittles, Murdoch University, Western Australia and Edith Cowan University, Western Australia
    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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