|Genetic Effects Of Inbreeding|
The geneticist said that it was common in the Islamic world for men to marry their nieces and cousins.
He said that
Prof Jones, who lectures at University College London, is likely to find himself at the centre of controversy in the wake of the comments.
Similar remarks made by Phil Woolas, a Labor environment minister, in 2008 resulted in calls for him to be sacked from the government.
Prof Jones, who writes for the Telegraph’s science pages, told an audience at the Hay Festival: “There may be some evidence that cousins marrying one another can be harmful.
“It is common in the Islamic world to marry your brother’s daughter, which is actually closer than marrying your cousin.
|Identifyinga damaged genes|
“We should be concerned about that as there can be a lot of hidden genetic damage. Children are much more likely to get two copies of a damaged gene.”
He added: “
Studies have found that within the city, more than 70 per cent of marriages are between relations, with more than half involving first cousins.
Separate studies have found that while British Pakistanis make up three per cent of all births, they account for one in three British children born with genetic illnesses. Prof Jones also said that incest was more common than is often realized in every part of society, adding that it had been particular prevalent among royalty and suggested it is still continuing.
“Royal families are the human equivalent of fruit flies because they do all the sexual experiments you can think of and there are some examples of inbreeding.