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DC Katoch
07 Aug 06,, 18:33
Genetic Diversity and caste (http://healthandmedicines.blogspot.com/2006/08/marriage-with-blood-relations.html)

With regard to this story on the need for a ban on marriages between cousins in the British Pakistani community it has been known for a long time that such marriages produce children with defects. Even in this modern age Pakistani Punjabis continue with marriages between first cousins——such marriages took place in the past among a few Indian communities (but usually with a maternal cousin) but not anymore.

In most of India, marriage with a blood relation has been considered a crime from the ancient times. As per modern Hindu law the couple must be separated by seven generations for the marriage to be legal. Some communities, like the Rajputs, continue their tradition of not marrying within clans even if the seven generation rule is satisfied. In the past different anecdotes from medeival Indian History relate that the required gap was 25, 50, and sometimes even a 100 generations!

Some years ago (1997) the marriage of Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur raised a storm in Rajput society. She married Narendra Singh, a Rajput of the same Kachhawa clan as the princess, but of a different branch separated by several generations. There have been other less common instances of marriage within clans but as long as these are supported by the seven generation rule these unions should be accepted.

The tradition of the past was that clan branches would migrate to other regions to set up their own kingdoms, and after several centuries had passed, would be eligible to marry with their parent clan. In all that time clans inter-marrige with the warriors of the conquered region would have ensured genetic diversity. Of course today we would need some other method of discrening gene pools since the earlier identities of clan and gotra are unknown to the yuppies in the cities.

Dreadnought
07 Aug 06,, 19:52
Knowing that this could create children with birth defects,disorders etc why would it even be practiced its almost as if your polluting you own family trees? :confused: I realize that its an old practice but still why would you want to marry in your own family bloodlines knowing this could happen? Outside of attempting to keep money, property etc in the family but its certainly not worth that no matter how much it risks to loose and there must be other ways of protecting ones financial health.

lemontree
08 Aug 06,, 05:15
Genetic Diversity and caste (http://healthandmedicines.blogspot.com/2006/08/marriage-with-blood-relations.html)
With regard to this story on the need for a ban on marriages between cousins in the British Pakistani community it has been known for a long time that such marriages produce children with defects.
Its done for many reasons:-
- Lack of suitable Pak-muslim grooms for their daughters.
- So that British-pak girls don't marry outsiders like Brits, Indians or Americans and possibly convert.
- A foolproof way to get Pak based relatives to immigrate into Britain.

These are some of the few one can think off the cuff. Maybe Neo can throw some light on the social issues involved in this matter.

Dreadnought
08 Aug 06,, 13:42
Its done for many reasons:-
- Lack of suitable Pak-muslim grooms for their daughters.
- So that British-pak girls don't marry outsiders like Brits, Indians or Americans and possibly convert.
- A foolproof way to get Pak based relatives to immigrate into Britain.

These are some of the few one can think off the cuff. Maybe Neo can through some light on the social issues involved in this matter.

Well Captain I take your word for it since you know the territory! :redface:

What would be so wrong with converting? It happens every day well maybe not but quite often. Its peoples nature I imagine to change sometimes not for the better but still in their nature i presume. :confused:

lemontree
08 Aug 06,, 14:36
What would be so wrong with converting? It happens every day well maybe not but quite often. Its peoples nature I imagine to change sometimes not for the better but still in their nature i presume. :confused:
Apparently for them it is the worst crime. That is the reason Jinnah's (founder of Pakistan) daughter does not live in Pakistan - she married a parsi born christian in India.

Dreadnought
08 Aug 06,, 15:25
Apparently for them it is the worst crime. That is the reason Jinnah's (founder of Pakistan) daughter does not live in Pakistan - she married a parsi born christian in India.

To each their own I guess. :redface: Cheers

Hari_Om
09 Aug 06,, 13:32
A possible genetic downside of the Pakistani penchant for marrying close relatives, the "Rat People". I say possible, as unlike the author I will not dismiss the non genetic arguement so summarily.

Anyway I am very surprised to learn that according to this article " In Pakistan .......... some 60 per cent of marriages are between first cousins ". 60 % is a shockingly high number :


What makes us human? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connected/main.jhtml?xml=/connected/2006/08/01/echuman01.xml&sSheet=/connected/2006/08/01/ixconnrite.html)

(Filed: 01/08/2006)

The unfortunate 'rat people' of Pakistan could provide the answer. Armand Leroi investigates

Travel the Grand Trunk Road between Lahore and Islamabad, and you come to the city of Gujrat. Awash in the smog and sewage produced by its million-odd inhabitants, it is an unlovely place best known for the manufacture of electrical fans. It is also the location of a shrine to a 17th-century Sufi Saint by the name of Shua Dulah. For at least 100 years, but perhaps for centuries, it has been, though is no longer, a depository for children with microcephaly.

The word "microcephaly" comes from the Greek, "small head". But in Pakistan, such children are known as chuas or "rat people". The name is uncharitable but apt, for their sloping foreheads and narrow faces do, indeed, have a rodent quality. When I visited the shrine earlier this year, I found only one chua, a 30-year-old woman called Nazia. Mentally disabled - I would judge her intelligence to be about that of a one- or two-year-old child - her nominal function is to guard the shoes that worshippers leave at its entrance, but that work seems to be mostly done by her companion, a charming hypopituitary dwarf called Nazir.

These days, most chuas are intinerant beggars. Travelling up and down the Grand Trunk Road, following a seasonal calender of religious festivals. Each chua is owned, or perhaps leased, by a minder, often a raffish, gypsy-like figure. The Chua-master looks after, and profits from, his chua rather as a peasant might a donkey; together, they may earn as much as 400 rupees per day, about 4. Most people I asked supposed that there are about 1,000 chuas in the Punjab, but no one really knows.

Where do they come from? There is, inevitably, a local myth to account for origins of the chuas. Infertile women, the story runs, come to the shrine to ask the saint to intercede on their behalf, to give them children. This he does, but only at a price: the first-born child would be a chua. That child has to be given back to the shrine where it would be raised, and live, as an acolyte. Should she fail to do so, all future children will be born chuas as well.

Nazia aside, the Pakistan government has banned microcephalics from the shrine. Yet women still go there to petition the saint. At least some of them still believe the myth. Educated Pakistanis know better. Dismissing the Curse of Shua Dulah as mere superstition, they have a better theory: that chuas aren't born, but made. Priests, chua-masters, or perhaps even parents, they say, purposefully deform healthy infants by placing pots or metal clamps on the heads of healthy infants and so retard the growth of the brain.

The Bonsai theory of microcephaly is at least 100 years old. In colonial times, British health officials fulminated against "this barbaric practice". Their concern has modern echoes. Every few years, some globetrotting reporter or public health official learns of the chuas and calls for their manufacture to be stamped out. While the sentiment may be admirable, its premise is almost certainly false.

There are several reasons for believing that microcephaly in the Punjab is not caused by clamping. The first is simply that no one, or at least no one I spoke to, seems to have actually seen it. The source of the allegation always seems to be an untraceable relation in an unreachable village. The second is that it is probably biologically impossible. The brain of an infant grows for the first nine years of life and the skull has gaps - sutures - to accommodate that growth. Should these sutures seal prematurely, as they do in certain rare genetic conditions, the result is not microcephaly but rather death, as the brain is forced through the hole at the base of the skull, so compressing the spinal cord.

But the strongest reason for dismissing the Bonsai account of microcephaly is that the disorder occurs among British Pakistanis as well. And they, it is quite clear, are not clamping their children.

In 1967, Pakistan dammed the Jhelum River that forms the frontier between Punjab and Kashmir. The resulting reservoir displaced thousands of peasants who were farming the river's flood plains. They emigrated: some went as far as Bradford and Leeds, where they formed the nucleus of one of Britain's largest Asian communities.

Microcephaly is a rare disorder in Britain. No one seems to know precisely how common it is in the Asian community of north England, but it was common enough to attract the attention of Geoff Woods, a geneticist working at Leeds University. He found that it ran in families. That implied that its cause was genetic; it was caused by a mutation. Or, more precisely, several. By the late 1990s, the disorder had been mapped to deficiencies in at least six different genes.

In the last few years, Woods and his collaborators have identified several of them. All seem to encode proteins that are needed if neuroblasts - the cells that give rise to the brain's neurons - are to divide and prosper. Should a child be born with an insufficiency of one of these proteins, the neuroblasts fail to divide. Or perhaps they divide slowly or die prematurely - the precise cellular defect is still obscure. In any event, the result is a brain that, in the extreme, grows to only one third of its normal size.

It is easy to see why peculiar theories of the origins of microcephaly have proliferated in Pakistan. To the untrained eye, the occurrence of the disorder is hard to explain. Healthy parents may have microcephalic children; microcephalic parents - there are a few - may have healthy children. To a geneticist, however, this merely speaks of recessive mutations. A child will only have microcephaly if it has inherited two copies of the mutant gene, one from each parent who are its carriers.

Disorders caused by recessive mutations are normally rather rare. But not in Lahore; nor in Leeds. That's because of the Pakistani way of marriage. Most of us marry people quite distantly related to ourselves and, as we travel ever further, our mates become ever more genetically remote.

In Pakistan, however, some 60 per cent of marriages are between first cousins; the frequency in Bradford and Leeds is thought to be comparable. The result is that clinical genetics units serving the British Pakistani community see a range and frequency of genetic disorders unknown elsewhere in the country.

The discovery of the microcephaly genes was important. It instantly told us something about how the human brain grows. But the true beauty of this work is that it has told something even more profound: how the human brain has evolved.

In the last three million or so years, the human brain has approximately trebled in size. This change, remarkable in its extent and speed, must have been caused by mutations - advantageous mutations - that swept through the populations of our ancestors as they wandered, generation after generation, across the African veldt. That such mutations must exist has long been obvious. The problem has been how to find them.

One way to do this is to compare our genome with that of our nearest relative, the chimpanzee. That's now easily done. The chimp genome was sequenced in 2005. To find the genes that matter to human evolution (the genes that make us different from an ape, that make us human) it should be just a matter of lining the two genomes up side-by-side and looking for the differences.

But genomes are vast. Chimps and humans each have about three billion nucleotides in their genomes - 99 per cent of those may be identical, but that still leaves about 30 million differences. Most of those are unimportant, the background noise of genomic evolution. But some matter: which?

Therein lies the importance of microcephaly. The discovery of genes that control the growth of the brain immediately suggested that these genes might also have changed in the last six million years since we last shared an ancestor with chimps. And so it proved: of the four microcephaly genes that have been found, three bear the hallmarks of rapid evolution. To be sure, chimps have versions of these genes, but the human version is different. So different, in fact, that their evolution must have been driven by natural selection.

It is hard to understate the beauty of this result. Ever since Aristotle, philosophers have wondered: what makes us different from the beasts? What makes us human? The answers that they have supplied: that man is a political animal, a thinking animal, a naked animal, a tool-making, tool-using animal - answers that, for all the aphoristic pleasure they provide, are essentially meaningless if not blatantly false, can now be discarded.

Now, when we ask: "What makes us human?" we can answer: this gene and that one... and that one. We can write the recipe for making a human being. Or, at least, we can begin to.

There is bittersweet irony in the discovery that the genes underlying a disorder as disabling as microcephaly should have also been responsible for the thing that we, as a species, are most proud of: our brains. Yet for all intellectual fascination of these discoveries, we should not neglect one more thing that they have given us: a way to meliorate the disease that pointed to their discovery.

Microcephaly cannot be cured. But it can now be prevented. Now that some of the mutations have been found, parents from families with a history of the disorder can have their newly conceived embryos tested. If the embryo has two copies of the mutation, it can be aborted.

Some will find this application of genetics, now routinely used in Britain to prevent many inherited disorders, repugnant. I am not among them. In Lahore, I met a middle-class family with two microcephalic children. Their mother, a woman who loved her disabled children passionately, spoke of her joy when just such a genetic test - the first in Pakistan - enabled her to give birth to a healthy girl.

It is easy to see why. The care that Pakistan provides for the mentally disabled is negligible. "What," said Rubina, speaking of her microcephalic children, "will happen to them when I am gone?" "Who will look after them?" "They will become" - she could barely say the word - "chuas". She wept; we filmed her; I did not know what to say.


Dr Armand Leroi, of Imperial College London, examines 'What Makes Us Human?' on Channel 4 (Aug. 12 and 19, 8pm).

Tronic
09 Aug 06,, 16:46
one question... why are we constantly being educated about Pakistan??? For me Pakistan is just another rat hole for terrorists.. and here you are every now and then pulling out all these statistics about Pakistan... I don't know why you even care so much... I don't...

Hari_Om
09 Aug 06,, 18:41
;)

Perhaps because a comment that Pakistan is a "rathole for terrorists" ( If a pun then noted ;) ) could be construed as being an opinon of a bigotted idiot :eek: .

While the same comment "pulling out all these statistics" could be construed as being an opinion of an educated savant :cool: .

;)

So who exactly is or are , the "you" and "we" ? :confused: .

Confed999
10 Aug 06,, 02:16
Pakistan is just another rat hole for terrorists..
That's not like you. You've met decent Pakistanis right here, so you know it's not true. :(

Tronic
10 Aug 06,, 02:46
That's not like you. You've met decent Pakistanis right here, so you know it's not true. :(
yes you are right, there have been more decent Pakistanis on this forums then there have been Indians...( I have come to notice in the past that for every one Pakistani troll, three Indian trolls rise up...) but that statement does not imply that Pakistanis are terrorists... it is a known fact that Pakistan is a haven for terrorists... maybe "rat hole" was a bad selection of words...

SLASH
11 Aug 06,, 10:37
That's not like you. You've met decent Pakistanis right here, so you know it's not true. :(
I don't see anything wrong with Tronic's statement of calling Pakistan a "rat hole for terrorist". I mean terrorist are rats and they operate/Hide from Pakistan.So.....