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Genetic Tests May Reveal Family Secrets: Incestuous Relationships!! [Watch Video]

Routine genetic tests in children can suggest that they were the products of incest, putting clinicians in an ethically awkward situation, researchers suggested.


The genetic tests that have revolutionized the identification and treatment of many illnesses can also unearth family secrets like incest, sparking an ethical discussion in the medical community over how these inadvertent findings should be handled.


At Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, sophisticated DNA analyses used to diagnose such disabilities as birth defects, epilepsy or developmental delays revealed that in some children, about 25 percent of genetic material inherited from their mother was the same as material inherited from their father.


That suggested their parents were first-degree relatives -- father and daughter, brother and sister, or mother and son. Children who inherited half as much identical DNA from both parents likely were the offspring of second-degree relatives, such as an uncle and niece. Had the mothers and fathers of these youngsters been unrelated, those same stretches of DNA would have differed.


In the few months that Baylor has been performing these detailed genetic tests, there have been fewer than 10 cases of consanguinity -- the phenomenon of inheriting the same gene variations from two closely related people, said Dr. Arthur L. Beaudet, chairman of Baylor's department of molecular and human genetics. However, wider use of such testing in children with disabilities is expected to identify additional cases of incestuous parentage.

If the child's mother is a minor, a physician may be legally obliged to report his or her suspicions to local child protection agencies and/or the police, according to Arthur L. Beaudet, MD, and colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.


Writing in the Feb. 12 issue of The Lancet, Beaudet and colleagues said they had come across several such cases themselves in the course of performing genomic tests on children with various conditions, using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays.

"SNP-array analysis revealed large regions of absence of heterozygosity on multiple chromosomes," they wrote. "In some case, these regions accounted for about a quarter of the genome -- a finding most consistent with the child having been conceived by first-degree relatives" such as a father-daughter or sister-brother parental pairing.


As SNP arrays become more common in clinical practice, more such cases are likely to come to light, the Baylor group predicted.


Beaudet and colleagues pointed out that when the mother is a minor, an incestuous relationship could reflect rape or other forms of sexual abuse, which would make the situation a police matter.

"The physician's duty to report is less clear in cases where the mother is an adult and might depend on whether she was a minor or an adult at the time she became pregnant," the group noted.


Such possibilities also create concerns about informed consent prior to conducting the genomic tests. Up to this point, probably very few clinicians have discussed the possibility that testing could reveal incestuous parentage, which in turn could lead to very real problems for the parents and children involved.



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Comment by deborah rollerson on February 12, 2011 at 7:30pm
WOW but its been happening through out the ages especially in slavery times.The African been breed as cattle.Sad but true
Comment by Bombahdrop on February 12, 2011 at 11:38am
Dam, i always wondered about this issue how many people get together have babies knowing or unknowingly it's a family member by blood. I've also heard stories on talk shows that two couples were really brother and sister and they did the dirty deed without knowing they were related as brother and sister and when they discovered this they said thier feelings were so strong by then that they would not stop seeing each other and yes it was a hillbillie lookin couple JamRockLady lol and yes its true Mikaeel it happens when many individuals don't know. I wonder though if its a sin if you didn't know u married and had offsprings with a relative is that a sin without knowing i'm curious about that . Also i've always been curious to know the answer pertaining to the bible if god made two people Adam and Eve in the beginning they had Cane and Able two males how did the generations grow. Where and who had the next woman (female)  in that generation after Eve whom was the first woman God made. JamRockLady or Mikaeel if you'd like to share some insight on this question it would greatfully appreciated. Thanks.
Comment by Malcolm X on February 11, 2011 at 6:46pm
These descendants of cavemen have been doing this nonsense since they lived in caves. And now that they have destroyed the black family and got black men running around making babies all over the place, many of us are related and don't know it because we sometimes don't know all our brothers and sisters and cousins.
Comment by JamRockLady on February 11, 2011 at 6:19pm
A test for hill-billies, by hill billies. lol.

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