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STUDYING THE EFFECT OF GENETIC SELECTION AND RANDOM DRIFT ON PREVALENCE OF GENETIC DISORDERS AMONG SAUDI POPULATION
Dr. Saleh A. S. AL-Abdulhadi*
Consanguineous marriages have been practiced since the early existence of modern humans. Until now consanguinity is widely practiced in several global communities with variable rates depending on religion, culture, and geography. Arab populations have a long tradition of consanguinity due to socio cultural factors. Many Arab countries display some of the highest rates of consanguineous marriages in the world, and specifically first cousin marriages which may reach 25-30% of all marriages. In some countries like Qatar, Yemen, and UAE, consanguinity rates are increasing in the current generation. Research among Arabs and worldwide has indicated that consanguinity could have an effect on some reproductive health parameters such as postnatal mortality and rates of congenital malformations. The association of consanguinity with other reproductive health parameters, such as fertility and fetal wastage, is controversial. The main impact of consanguinity, however, is an increase in the rate of homozygotes for autosomal recessive genetic disorders. Worldwide, known dominant disorders are more numerous than known recessive disorders. However, data on genetic disorders in Arab populations as extracted from the Catalogue of Transmission Genetics in Arabs (CTGA) database indicate a relative abundance of recessive disorders in the region that is clearly associated with the practice of consanguinity.[Full Text Article]