This study examines the frequency of consanguineous marriage and the coefficient of inbreeding in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The study was conducted in Al Ain and Dubai cities between October 1994 and March 1995. A sample of 2033 married UAE females aged 15 years and over participated. The degree of consanguinity between each female and her spouse, and the degree of consanguinity between their parents were recorded. The rate of consanguinity in the present generation was high (50·5%) with a coefficient of inbreeding of 0·0222. The commonest type of consanguineous marriage was between first cousins (26·2%). Double first cousin marriages were common (3·5%) compared to other populations. The consanguinity rate in the UAE has increased from 39% to 50·5% in one generation. The level of consanguinity was higher in Al Ain (54·2%) than in Dubai (40%).
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