Genetic Diversity???

Beth Plotkin bethp at carson.u.washington.edu
Tue Dec 7 03:05:40 EST 1993


Here's a perhaps naive question from a non-genetics-type person:

I know that incest has long been taboo, since the likelihood
of genetic problems in off-spring increases in these situations.
Is it preferable, therefore, for two parents to be as diverse
genetically as possible (in a given species)?

Some breeds of dogs, for example, have strange dispositions...
yet many "mutts" often seem to be well-disposed.  When you
constantly breed for certain traits through the generations,
aren't there apt to be more "problems" as well?

If this were true with people, "inter-racial" marriages should
be encouraged to prevent in-breeding.  

Unlike dogs, where traits are selected by people, our traits stem 
from our nomadic wanderings, do they not?  We're all Homo
sapiens, but blue eyes, brown skin were all preferred adaptations for
different climates?  Such racial purists as Adolph Hitler were
complete oblivious!

Sorry if this is an ignorant or offensive question to anyone.
I don't read this net but am curious about this subject.



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