Why do you think that human cultures have laws against marriage between close relatives? On the average, each human has about six recessive alleles that would be lethal if expressed.  I need this...

Why do you think that human cultures have laws against marriage between close relatives?

On the average, each human has about six recessive alleles that would be lethal if expressed.  I need this answer for today, please.  Thank you.

Asked on by layn

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melony82's profile pic

melony82 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Any individual who inherits two copies of the same lethal recessive allele dies. 

The odds of two unrelated individuals who decide to have kids both carrying the same type of lethal recessive allele are relatively low.  However, since close relatives share a high percentage of their DNA, it is highly likely that they will carry the same type of lethal recessive allele.  So, if close relatives have children, there is a much higher chance that the kids will inherit two copies of the lethal recessive allele.  So, really, the law is designed to prevent reproduction between close relatives, but marriage is much easier to control than reproduction.

Even in cases where the offspring avoid a lethal recessive condition, there is still a high probability that they will inherit other problems/defects due to the close genetic makeup of their parents.

hudsolaura's profile pic

hudsolaura | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The reason most cultures prohibit marriage of close relatives is because Inbreeding increases homozygosity.



Recessive traits are only expressed when the genotype is homozygous recessive. If both parents are closely related, they are more likely to share common recessive alleles and pass them to their offspring. If they were to marry someone from another family, it is less likely that they would both contribute the same unfavorable recessive allele to their offspring.

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