Darwin Dynasty Cursed By Inbreeding
2010 05 05

By Zoё Macintosh | LiveScience.com

Charles Darwin’s family suffered from the deleterious effects of inbreeding, suggests a new study that serves as ironic punctuation to the evolutionary theorist’s life work.

Pioneer of the theory that genetic traits affect survival of both individual organisms and species, Darwin wondered in his own lifetime if his marriage to first cousin Emma Wedgwood was having "the evil effects of close interbreeding" that he had observed in plants and animals.

Three of their children died before age 10, two from infectious diseases. The survivors were often ill, and out of the six long-term marriages that resulted, only half produced any children. According to researchers at Ohio State University and Spain’s Universidad de Santiago de Compestela, that alone is a "suspicious" sign that the Darwins suffered from reproductive problems.


A young Charles Darwin in 1842 (aged 33), with his eldest son William Erasmus. This was also the year in which Darwin published his book on coral reefs. Source

Inbreeding can cause serious health problems, because it increases the chances of successful gene expression for diseases otherwise rare or muted in an individual’s pedigree.

The new study, detailed in the journal Bioscience, fed genealogical data on the Darwin-Wedgwood link into a specialized computer program, which spit out a "coefficient of inbreeding," or the probability that an individual received two identical copies of a gene resulting from marriages among relatives. (Some genetic disorders are caused by recessive genes, which means they require two copies of a gene in order for the trait to manifest.)

Results revealed that inbreeding was a possible factor in the offspring’s poor health. Darwin’s children suffered from a "moderate degree" of inbreeding, the researchers concluded. When expanded to other branches of the family tree and four consecutive generations, the analysis found an even stronger association between child mortality and incestuousness.

Darwin’s mother and grandfather were also Wedgwoods, and his mother’s parents were third cousins.

The study relied solely on birth and death records. In the late 19th century it was still fashionable for wealthy families to intermarry over generations. As would be expected of prominent families, their genealogical records were also in excellent condition.

When genealogical records are not available, scientists interested in genetic heritage must rely on DNA and radiological analysis of bone samples — a type of research recently utilized for mummies.

In fact, this past February, an international team announced that a high degree of inbreeding was the likely explanation for boy pharoah King Tutankamun’s early death and frail, club footed frame. And research published last year showed the termination of the Habsburg dynasty that ruled Spain for nearly 200 years may have been a result of frequent inbreeding.


Article from: LiveScience.com



Related Articles
Top 10 Worst Hereditary Conditions
Kissing Cousins Have More Kids
New Charles Darwin film is ’too controversial’ for religious American audiences
Forgotten evolutionist lives in Darwin’s shadow
Charles Darwin spent more on shoes than books while at university, archives reveal
Vatican hosts Darwin conference (Monkey See Monkey Do)
Darwin’s Kin, Admirers, Opponents Mark 200th Birthday
Darwin, Nazi Eugenics and Selective Breeding (Video)
Inbred Illuminati Bloodlines - Visual Proof (Video) :)


Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation" The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola. The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
6 Million Lies
2014 10 30
“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming hell.” C Wright Mills. I need to share information I have discovered ...
Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science. One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
More News »