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First cousin marriage can double risk of birth defects, finds study

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4374 (Published 05 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4374
  1. Krishna Chinthapalli
  1. 1BMJ

Children born in marriages between first cousins have double the risk of congenital anomalies, a new UK study has found.1

Researchers followed 13 776 pregnancies in Bradford and found that 6.1% of children born to first cousins had congenital anomalies and that 98% of these children were born to people of Pakistani origin. This compared with a 2.4% risk of congenital anomalies in non-consanguineous marriages in the study (multivariate relative risk 2.2 (95% confidence interval 1.7 to 2.9) and a background risk of 1.7% in the UK population. The researchers found that the risk was unchanged when they controlled for socioeconomic status.

The findings are in keeping with previous research and concerns among paediatricians in Bradford over the number of autosomal recessive disorders …

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