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How Inbreeding Screws Up Your Genes! with English subtitles  

The old proverb goes "Incest is best, so put your brother to the test". Today we'll examine

the validity of this statement.....for science......Do we have a barf bag off set just in case?

Hey everyone, Laci Green here. It's everyone's favorite subject: incest! No really. It seriously

feels like incest is now everyone's favorite topic. It's a big Japanese porn thing, it's

a big Game of Thrones thing....a big yahoo answers thing. Oh, humans. Incest is a moral

dilemma as well as a scientific one. Few things provoke such disgust---for MOST people---as

the idea of having sex with a blood relative. Of course non-consensual sexual contact with

a family member is a form of abuse and absolutely not OK, but what about when it's consensual

and they're not having kids? It's hard for a rational person to reason out of, and yet

that disgust is still goin strong.

But, this is science time, because YAY DNEWS, so let's talk about incest or inbreeding from

a scientific standpoint. A recent report in the open access journal PeerJ found that inbreeding

in woolly mammoths from the North Sea may be why they went extinct. The researcher's

main clue was cervical ribs on the neck of the fossils. These ribs are known to develop

when genetic or environmental disturbances take place while the embryo is developing.

There are also other birth defects that are associated with this mutation and the scientists

believe those abnormalities could have played a role in the mammoth's ability to survive.

Now, mammoths aren't the only species speculated to have inbred - in fact most species will

inbreed if it's the only option. Other animals known to inbreed often are...house cats. Bonobos

practice incest as part of social bonding, and in some species of wasp, over 90% of them

mate with their brother or sister.

It's a strange paradox given the hell that inbreeding can wreck on the offspring. Inbreeding

basically means that there's no diversity of the genetic pool. So, bad genes are magnified.

With...ummm...outbreeding? Is that a word? Basically how it goes down is that when humans

breed with non-relatives, the offspring gets 2 copies of a particular gene, so if one copy

isn't good, they have a normal one as backup. Inbreeding, particularly over many generations,

completely eliminates these backups across hundreds or thousands of genes, which can

cause some weird mutations and exaggerations of genetic defects. It will also cause fertility

issues eventually.

Even though there are several species, including humans, that practice incest and inbreeding,

the majority of the animal kingdom rejects incestuous advances in normal circumstances.

It's thought that different species have evolved different mechanisms to make sure they don't

put their genes at risk. For humans, that mechanism may be a combination of psychological

systems -- including the scent of their pheromones and facial detection.

I know incest is kinda gross, but when you think about that disgust as a possible evolutionary

response...it's actually kinda interesting. Let me know what you think down below and

I'll catch you next time with more DNews updates.

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