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Concept: Cousin


We investigate the consequences of adopting the criteria used by the state of California, as described by Myers et al. (2011), for conducting familial searches. We carried out a simulation study of randomly generated profiles of related and unrelated individuals with 13-locus CODIS genotypes and YFiler® Y-chromosome haplotypes, on which the Myers protocol for relative identification was carried out. For Y-chromosome sharing first degree relatives, the Myers protocol has a high probability ([Formula: see text]) of identifying their relationship. For unrelated individuals, there is a low probability that an unrelated person in the database will be identified as a first-degree relative. For more distant Y-haplotype sharing relatives (half-siblings, first cousins, half-first cousins or second cousins) there is a substantial probability that the more distant relative will be incorrectly identified as a first-degree relative. For example, there is a [Formula: see text] probability that a first cousin will be identified as a full sibling, with the probability depending on the population background. Although the California familial search policy is likely to identify a first degree relative if his profile is in the database, and it poses little risk of falsely identifying an unrelated individual in a database as a first-degree relative, there is a substantial risk of falsely identifying a more distant Y-haplotype sharing relative in the database as a first-degree relative, with the consequence that their immediate family may become the target for further investigation. This risk falls disproportionately on those ethnic groups that are currently overrepresented in state and federal databases.

Concepts: Family, Kinship terminology, Consanguinity, Cousin


Summary A total of 3961 married couples from six major geographical areas representing the South Sinai governorates in Egypt were studied to assess the rate of consanguineous marriage. The population of six selected areas (St Catherines, Nuweiba, Abu Rudeis, Ras Sudr, El Tor and Abu Zenima) were subdivided into Bedouin, urban and mixed populations. A questionnaire-based interview was conducted showing that the consanguinity rate in this region is 37.5%, with the highest rate recorded in Abu Rudeis (52.3%) and lowest rate in Nuweiba (24.1%). Consanguinity was significantly higher among the Bedouin population compared with the urban population in Abu Rudeis, Ras Sudr, El Tor and Abu Zenima, while in St Catherines and Nuweiba there was no statistically significant difference. Among consanguineous couples, 5%, 60% and 35% were double first cousins, first cousins and second cousins respectively. The mean inbreeding coefficient α of the studied population was 0.01845.

Concepts: Marriage, Egypt, Kinship and descent, Consanguinity, Cousin, Cousin marriage, Incest, Endogamy


Ancestral environmental exposures have previously been shown to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance and influence all aspects of an individual’s life history. In addition, proximate life events such as chronic stress have documented effects on the development of physiological, neural, and behavioral phenotypes in adulthood. We used a systems biology approach to investigate in male rats the interaction of the ancestral modifications carried transgenerationally in the germ line and the proximate modifications involving chronic restraint stress during adolescence. We find that a single exposure to a common-use fungicide (vinclozolin) three generations removed alters the physiology, behavior, metabolic activity, and transcriptome in discrete brain nuclei in descendant males, causing them to respond differently to chronic restraint stress. This alteration of baseline brain development promotes a change in neural genomic activity that correlates with changes in physiology and behavior, revealing the interaction of genetics, environment, and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance in the shaping of the adult phenotype. This is an important demonstration in an animal that ancestral exposure to an environmental compound modifies how descendants of these progenitor individuals perceive and respond to a stress challenge experienced during their own life history.

Concepts: Psychology, Gene, Evolution, Biology, Evolutionary physiology, Ibn al-Nafis, Cousin, Ancestor


Close relatives can share large segments of their genome identical by descent (IBD) that can be identified in genome-wide polymorphism datasets. There are a range of methods to use these IBD segments to identify relatives and estimate their relationship. These methods have focused on sharing on the autosomes, as they provide a rich source of information about genealogical relationships. We can hope to learn additional information about recent ancestry through shared IBD segments on the X chromosome, but currently lack the theoretical framework to use this information fully. Here, we fill this gap by developing probability distributions for the number and length of X chromosome segments shared IBD between an individual and an ancestor k generations back, as well as between half- and full-cousin relationships. Due to the inheritance pattern of the X and the fact that X homologous recombination only occurs in females (outside of the pseudoautosomal regions), the number of females along a genealogical lineage is a key quantity for understanding the number and length of the IBD segments shared amongst relatives. When inferring relationships among individuals, the number of female ancestors along a genealogical lineage will often be unknown. Therefore, our IBD segment length and number distributions marginalize over this unknown number of recombinational meioses through a distribution of recombinational meioses we derive. By using Bayes theorem to invert these distributions, we can estimate the number of female ancestors between two relatives, giving us details about the genealogical relations between individuals not possible with autosomal data alone.

Concepts: DNA, Human, Chromosome, Gamete, Common descent, Kinship and descent, Cousin, Ancestor


Nonrandom mating in human populations has important implications for genetics and medicine as well as for economics and sociology. In this study, we performed an integrative analysis of a large cohort of Mexican and Puerto Rican couples using detailed socioeconomic attributes and genotypes. We found that in ethnically homogeneous Latino communities, partners are significantly more similar in their genomic ancestries than expected by chance. Consistent with this, we also found that partners are more closely related-equivalent to between third and fourth cousins in Mexicans and Puerto Ricans-than matched random male-female pairs. Our analysis showed that this genomic ancestry similarity cannot be explained by the standard socioeconomic measurables alone. Strikingly, the assortment of genomic ancestry in couples was consistently stronger than even the assortment of education. We found enriched correlation of partners' genotypes at genes known to be involved in facial development. We replicated our results across multiple geographic locations. We discuss the implications of assortment and assortment-specific loci on disease dynamics and disease mapping methods in Latinos.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Evolution, Demography, United States, Sociology, Mexican American, Cousin


The classification of kin into structured groups is a diverse phenomenon which is ubiquitous in human culture. For populations which are organized into large agropastoral groupings of sedentary residence but not governed within the context of a centralised state, such as our study sample of 83 historical Bantu-speaking groups of sub-Saharan Africa, cultural kinship norms guide all aspects of everyday life and social organization. Such rules operate in part through the use of differing terminological referential systems of familial organization. Although the cross-cultural study of kinship terminology was foundational in Anthropology, few modern studies have made use of statistical advances to further our sparse understanding of the structuring and diversification of terminological systems of kinship over time. In this study we use Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods of phylogenetic comparison to investigate the evolution of Bantu kinship terminology and reconstruct the ancestral state and diversification of cousin terminology in this family of sub-Saharan ethnolinguistic groups. Using a phylogenetic tree of Bantu languages, we then test the prominent hypothesis that structured variation in systems of cousin terminology has co-evolved alongside adaptive change in patterns of descent organization, as well as rules of residence. We find limited support for this hypothesis, and argue that the shaping of systems of kinship terminology is a multifactorial process, concluding with possible avenues of future research.

Concepts: Family, Sociology, Culture, Anthropology, Markov chain Monte Carlo, Kinship terminology, Cousin, Kinship


BACKGROUND: Characterising genetic diversity through the analysis of massively parallel sequencing (MPS) data offers enormous potential to significantly improve our understanding of the genetic basis for observed phenotypes, including predisposition to and progression of complex human disease. Great challenges remain in resolving which genetic variants are genuinely associated with disease from the millions of ‘bystanders’ and artefactual signals. RESULTS: FAVR is a suite of new methods designed to work with commonly used MPS analysis pipelines to assist in the resolution of some of these issues with a focus on relatively rare genetic variants. To the best of our knowledge, no equivalent has previously been described. The most important and novel aspect of FAVR is the use of signatures in comparator sequence alignment files during variant filtering, and annotation of variants potentially shared between individuals. The FAVR methods use these signatures to facilitate filtering of (i) platform-specific artefacts, (ii) common genetic variants, and, where relevant, (iii) artefacts derived from imbalanced paired-end sequencing, as well as annotation of genetic variants based on evidence of co-occurrence in individuals. By comparing conventional variant calling with or without downstream processing by FAVR methods applied to whole-exome sequencing datasets, we demonstrate a 3-fold smaller rare single nucleotide variant shortlist with no detected reduction in sensitivity. This analysis included Sanger sequencing of rare variant signals not evident in dbSNP131, assessment of known variant signal preservation, and comparison of observed and expected rare variant numbers across a range of first cousin pairs. The principles described herein were applied in our recent publication identifying XRCC2 as a new breast cancer risk gene and have been made publically available as a suite of software tools. CONCLUSIONS: FAVR is a platform-agnostic suite of methods that significantly enhances the analysis of large volumes of sequencing data for the study of rare genetic variants and their influence on phenotypes.

Concepts: DNA, Scientific method, Gene, Bioinformatics, Cancer, Molecular biology, Sequence, Cousin


This study examined the recent level, trends and determinants of consanguineous marriage in Jordan using time-series data from the Jordan Population and Family Health Surveys (JPFHSs). According to the 2012 JPFHS, 35% of all marriages were consanguineous in Jordan in 2012. There has been a declining trend in consanguinity in the country, with the rate decreasing from a level of 57% in 1990. Most consanguineous marriage in 2012 were first cousin marriages, constituting 23% of all marriages and 66% of all consanguineous marriages. The data show that women with a lower age at marriage, older marriage cohort, larger family size, less than secondary level of education, rural place of residence, no employment, no exposure to mass media, a monogamous marriage, a husband with less than higher level of education and lower economic status, and those from the Badia region, were more likely to have a consanguineous marriage. Increasing age at marriage, level of education, urbanization and knowledge about the health consequences of consanguinity, and the ongoing socioeconomic and demographic transition in the country, will be the driving forces for further decline in consanguinity in Jordan.

Concepts: Family, Marriage, Demography, Monogamy, Consanguinity, Cousin, Kinship, Cousin marriage


A family history of colorectal cancer (CRC) is an important risk factor for CRC, but more detailed data are needed to prepare effective screening guidelines. We aimed to evaluate the risk of colorectal neoplasia (CRN) among individuals with different relatives affected by CRC (the first-degree relatives [FDRs] or the second-degree relatives [SDRs] or the first cousins) and to assess the effects of family histories according to age groups (30-39, 40-49, and ≥50 years).

Concepts: Family, Cancer, Effect, Colorectal cancer, Kinship terminology, Cousin, Genealogy, Family history


Several studies have indicated that consanguineous marriages (unions between biologically related persons) are associated with increased risk of autosomal recessive diseases and several multifactorial traits. Mandaeans are a closed ethno-religious community living in areas of southern Iraq and Iran (Khuzestan Province). There are currently no data on the prevalence of consanguineous marriages among Mandaeans. The present study was carried out in 2016 to determine the prevalence of consanguinity among Iranian Mandaeans living in Khuzestan Province, south-west Iran. A total of 137 couples (urban areas: 79 couples; rural areas: 58 couples) were included in the study. Information on the consanguineous marriages of the subjects was collected through direct interviews. Marriages were classified by the degree of relationship between couples as double first cousins, first cousins, first cousin once removed, second cousins and unrelated marriages. The coefficient of inbreeding (F) was calculated for each couple and the mean coefficient of inbreeding (α) estimated for the population, stratified by rural and urban areas. The overall frequency of consanguinity was found to be 50.7% in urban and 86.2% in rural areas. There was a significant difference between rural and urban areas in types of marriages (χ 2=24.8, df=4, p<0.001) and first cousin marriages (51.8%) were the most common type. The overall α-value was estimated to be 0.0363 for the Iranian Mandaean population.

Concepts: Family, Kinship and descent, Consanguinity, Cousin, Cousin marriage