Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-qn7h5 Total loading time: 0.293 Render date: 2022-09-29T09:09:55.351Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 May 2009

Department of Biology, College of Sciences, Shiraz University, Iran
Department of Biology, College of Sciences, Shiraz University, Iran


Consanguineous marriage is the union of individuals having at least one common ancestor. The present cross-sectional study was done in order to illustrate the prevalence and types of consanguineous marriages in the Syrian Arab Republic. Data on consanguineous marriages were collected using a simple questionnaire. The total number of couples in this study was 67,958 (urban areas: 36,574 couples; rural areas: 31,384 couples) from the following provinces: Damascus, Hamah, Tartous, Latakia, Al Raqa, Homs, Edlep and Aleppo. In each province urban and rural areas were surveyed. Consanguineous marriage was classified by the degree of relationship between couples: double first cousins (F=1/8), first cousins (F=1/16), second cousins (F=1/64) and beyond second cousins (F<1/64). The coefficient of inbreeding (F) was calculated for each couple and the mean coefficient of inbreeding (α) estimated for the population of each province, stratified by rural and urban areas. The results showed that the overall frequency of consanguinity was 30.3% in urban and 39.8% in rural areas. Total rate of consanguinity was found to be 35.4%. The equivalent mean inbreeding coefficient (α) was 0.0203 and 0.0265 in urban and rural areas, respectively. The mean proportion of consanguineous marriages ranged from 67.5% in Al Raqa province to 22.1% in Latakia province. The α-value ranged from 0.0358 to 0.0127 in these two provinces, respectively. The western and north-western provinces (including Tartous, Lattakia and Edlep) recorded lower levels of inbreeding than the central, northern and southern provinces. The overall α-value was estimated to be about 0.0236 for the studied populations. First cousin marriages (with 20.9%) were the most common type of consanguineous marriages, followed by double first cousin (with 7.8%) and second cousin marriages (with 3.3%), and beyond second cousin was the least common type.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Al-Abdulkareem, A. A. & Ballal, S. G. (1998) Consanguineous marriage in an urban area of Saudi Arabia: rates and adverse health effects on the offspring. Journal of Community Health 23, 7583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Al-Awadi, S. A., Naguib, K. K., Moussa, M. A., Farag, T. I., Teebi, A. S. & El-Khalifa, M. Y. (1986) The effect of consanguineous marriages on reproductive wastage. Clinical Genetics 29, 384388.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Al-Gazali, L. I., Bener, A., Abdulrazzaq, Y. M., Micallef, R., Al-Khayat, A. I. & Gaber, T. (1997) Consanguineous marriages in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Biosocial Science 29, 491497.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Al-Hamamy, H., Al-Bayati, N. & Al-Kubaisy, W. (1986) Consanguineous matings in the Iraqi urban population and the effect on pregnancy outcome and infant mortality. Iraqi Medical Journal 34, 7580.Google Scholar
Alper, O. M., Erengin, H., Manguoglu, A. E., Bilgen, T., Cetin, Z., Dedeoglu, N. & Luleci, G. (2004) Consanguineous marriages in the province of Antalya, Turkey. Annales de génétique 47, 129138.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Al-Rifai, M. T. & Woody, R. C. (2007) Marriage patterns and pediatric neurologic disease in Damascus, Syria. Pakistan Journal of Neurology Science 2, 136140.Google Scholar
Barbari, A., Stephan, A., Masri, M., Karam, A., Aoun, S., El Nahas, J. & Bou Khalil, J. (2003) Consanguinity-associated kidney diseases in Lebanon: an epidemiological study. Molecular Immunology 39, 11091114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Becker, S. M., Al Alees, Z., Molina, C. & Paterson, R. M. (2001) Consanguinity and congenital heart disease in Saudi Arabia. American Journal of Medical Genetics 99, 813.3.0.CO;2-U>CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Benallegue, A. & Kedji, F. (1984) Consanguinité et santé publique: étude algérienne. Archives Francaises de Pediatrie 41, 435440[in French].Google Scholar
Bener, A. & Alali, K. A. (2006) Consanguineous marriage in a newly developed country: the Qatari population. Journal of Biosocial Science 38, 239246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bener, A. & Hussain, A. (2006) Consanguineous unions and child health in the State of Qatar. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 20, 372378.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bittles, A. H. (2001) Consanguinity and its relevance to clinical genetics. Clinical Genetics 60, 8998.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bittles, A. H., Grant, J. C. & Shami, S. A. (1993) An evaluation of consanguinity as a determinant of reproductive behaviour and mortality in Pakistan. International Journal of Epidemiology 22, 463467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
COSIT [Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology] (2006) Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004. Vol. II: Analytical Report. Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation, Baghdad.Google Scholar
Dawodu, A., Abdulrazzaq, Y. M., Bener, A., Kappel, I., Liddle, L. & Varghese, M. (1996) Biologic risk factors for low birth weight in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. American Journal of Human Biology 8, 341345.3.0.CO;2-2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Du, R.-B., Zhao, Z.-L., Xu, L.-J., Wang, Y.-F., Cui, W.-Y., Mao, Z.-R. et al. (1981) Percentage and types of consanguineous marriages of different nationalities and regions in China. National Medical Journal of China 61, 723728[in Chinese].Google Scholar
El-Hazmi, M. A. F., Al-Swailem, A. R., Warsy, A. S., Al-Swailem, A. M., Sulaimani, R. & Al-Meshari, A. A. (1995) Consanguinity among the Saudi Arabian population. Journal of Medical Genetics 32, 623626.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gunaid, A. A., Hummad, N. A. & Tamim, K. A. (2004) Consanguineous marriage in the capital city Sana'a, Yemen. Journal of Biosocial Science 36, 111121.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hafez, M., El-Tahan, H., Awadalla, M., El-Khayat, H., Abdel-Gafar, A. & Ghoneim, M. (1983) Consanguineous matings in the Egyptian population. Journal of Medical Genetics 20, 5860.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hamamy, H., Jamhawi, L., Al-Darawsheh, J. & Ajlouni, K. (2005) Consanguineous marriages in Jordan: why is the rate changing with time? Clinical Genetics 67, 511516.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kerkeni, E., Monastiri, K., Saket, B., Guediche, M. N. & Ben Cheikh, H. (2007) Interplay of socio-economic factors, consanguinity, fertility, and offspring mortality in Monastir, Tunisia. Croatian Medical Journal 48, 701707.Google ScholarPubMed
Khlat, M. (1988) Consanguineous marriage and reproduction in Beirut, Lebanon. American Journal of Human Genetics 43, 188196.Google ScholarPubMed
Khoury, S. A. & Massad, D. (1992) Consanguineous marriage in Jordan. American Journal of Medical Genetics 43, 769775.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ober, C., Hyslop, T. & Hauck, W. W. (1999) Inbreeding effects on fertility in humans: evidence for reproductive compensation. American Journal of Human Genetics 64, 225231.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rajab, A. & Patton, M. (2000) A study of consanguinity in the Sultanate of Oman. Annals of Human Biology 27, 321326.Google ScholarPubMed
Rao, P. S. S. & Inbaraj, S. G. (1977) Inbreeding effects on human reproduction in Tamil Nadu of South India. Annals of Human Genetics 41, 8798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saadat, M. (2005) Epidemiology and mortality of hospitalized burn patients in Kohkiluye va Boyerahmad province (Iran): 2002–2004. Burns 31, 306309.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Saadat, M. (2007a) Consanguinity marriages in Iranian folktales. Community Genetics 10, 3740.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Saadat, M. (2007b) Consanguinity associated with child and adult mortality in 24 Asian and African countries, an ecological study. Iranian Journal of Public Health 36, 3539.Google Scholar
Saadat, M. (2008a) Consanguinity and national IQ. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 62, 566567.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Saadat, M. (2008b) Is consanguineous marriage historically encouraged? Journal of Biosocial Science 40, 153154.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Saadat, M., Ansari-Lari, M. & Farhud, D. D. (2004) Consanguineous marriage in Iran. Annals of Human Biology 31, 263269.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Saadat, M. & Zendeh-Boodi, Z. (2006) Correlation between incidences of self-inflicted burns and means of inbreeding coefficients, an ecological study. Annals of Epidemiology 16, 708711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saha, N. & El Sheikh, F. S. (1988) Inbreeding levels in Khartoum. Journal of Biosocial Science 20, 333336.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tuncbilek, E. & Koc, I. (1994) Consanguineous marriage in Turkey and its impact on fertility and mortality. Annals of Human Genetics 58, 321329.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wahab, A., Ahmad, M. & Akram Shah, S. (2006) Migration as a determinant of marriage pattern: preliminary report on consanguinity among Afghans. Journal of Biosocial Science 38, 315325.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *