The latest episode of MTV’s “True Life” takes on a taboo topic — inbreeding.Thursday’s episode (which premiered at midnight) features two women who are in romantic relationships with their cousins, and who decide to have children with them.The findings, which come from a recent study of Icelanders, shed light on how relatedness affects reproduction and ultimately the size of families.
We've been together for six years."Molete said they were not worried about biological defects."We were made aware that there could be problems with our kids because we are related, but I can only hope for the best," he said.
Jongisilo Pokwana ka Menziwa, the CEO of Vusizwe Foundation of Historical Research and member of Contralesa (Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa), said knowing which cousin is okay to marry boils down to culture."Certain rules do not apply to all the tribes in South Africa.
You meet someone, there's chemistry, and then come the introductory questions: What's your name? A new smartphone app is on hand to help Icelanders avoid accidental incest.
In Iceland, a country with a population of 320,000 where most everyone is distantly related, inadvertently kissing cousins is a real risk.
Couples who are third or fourth cousins tend to have more kids and grandkids than other couples.
And though considered somewhat of a cultural taboo, mating between "kissing cousins" makes good biological sense, say scientists.
"The formation of densely populated urban regions that offer a large selection of distantly related potential spouses is a new situation for humans in evolutionary terms," the researchers write in the Feb. During the past two centuries, the researchers point out, the average relatedness of Icelandic couples has widened from third and fourth cousins to the more recent couple relatedness of fifth cousins. Children of first cousins are second cousins, and their children are third cousins.) Cousin Couples The results make sense from a biological perspective.
"Our definition of a species is a group of individuals who are closely enough related to each other to be able to have offspring," said lead author Kari Stefansson of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.
A similar urban shift is happening across the globe.
In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half the world’s population will live in towns and cities, according to the United Nations.
The app lets users "bump" phones, and emits a warning alarm if they are closely related.