Incestuous inbreeding is the act of mating or having any sexual relations between two beings of close kinship. In people, this is prohibited by law to marry and engage in any sexual activity with any member of a person’s own family and with his/her relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity. Aside from it being a legal prohibition, it is also a considered a social taboo in most cultures. However, the considerations for incest are different depending on the beliefs and customs of these cultural groups.
Some have more liberal qualifications for the situation to be called incest, and others are more conservative in the sense that people could not marry even those who are adopted into the family. Nevertheless, there are also some places wherein they permit this kind of familial setup to preserve their royal lineage. There are various kinds and forms of incest. The most common and considered a kind of abuse is the father-daughter incest and other forms of parental incest.
However, there are also other forms such as sibling incest and other matches which usually come unreported. Although most cases of incest are born out of coercion, consensual incest also exists in some societies. The rationale behind the incest taboo must have stemmed from social group processes in ancient civilized and uncivilized societies. As studied by anthropologists, older cultures follow the rule of exogamy which enables families and groups to merge with others to form alliances. If incest was allowed, this rule would be violated.
Religious groups and sects also have their various takes on this issue and most of them push that incest must not be tolerated and patronized. In modern societies, this legal prohibition now has scientific basis. It was found that since the two people involved in incestuous inbreeding have the same genetic makeup, their offspring would contract inherited congenital malformations. In the event that this becomes the result, future generations would be at risk of catching the same genetic defects.
As a product of incestuous inbreeding, an offspring has a tendency to develop recessive disorders such as mental retardation, deaf-mutism, congenital ichthyosis, retinitis pigmentosa, adiposogenital syndrome, and homocystinuria. Previous studies show that more than half of the children born out of incest acquire some abnormality. The reason behind this is that there in an increase in homozygosity in the offspring’s genes, which means that there would be “the same allele at the same locus on both members of a chromosome pair” (“Incest,” n.
d. ). In other words, if the parents of the child belong to the same family, there is a greater tendency for the child to get a defective gene from both parents. Because of this, it is assumed that there is a specific biological mechanism which prevents species from engaging in incestuous inbreeding. In detail, this mechanism could be more easily described in a comparison between incestuous inbreeding and mating between beings of different blood. Every human being carries some defective genes which are masked in a recessive expression.
When two people belong in the same family, for example, as in the case of siblings, half of their genes are identical as they are from the same parents. This means that when they mate, there is a greater likelihood that the defective gene would be expressed in their offspring. However, for two people of no blood relation to each other, there isn’t any identical gene which means that it would be less likely for a genetic defect to be developed in their offspring. This biological constraint and medical risk is a consequence that incestuous inbreeding would bring.
It would not only be harmful for the offspring because of the defects that would be acquired or a greater risk for mortality, nonetheless, it would also contribute to the deterioration of future generations. Finally, aside from these aforementioned medical considerations, it would also be appropriate to regard the psychological side effects as important in these situations. There are lots of cases which show that incest, especially those situations which could be considered as forms of abuse, result in psychological, mental, and emotional trauma.
This probably might be because of the fact that it is established as a taboo and the behavior is a contradiction to that belief or attitude. Whatever the case may be, there would always be a negative outcome when two people engage in incestuous relations and inbreeding. References Children born as a result of incest. (1981). British Medical Journal Vol. 282. p. 250. Incest. (n. d. ) In Cambridge encyclopedia. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from http://encyclopedia. stateuniversity. com/pages/10516/incest. html The Columbia encyclopedia (10th ed. ). (2007). New York: Columbia University Press.
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