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Polygamy and disease: Intermarrying Mormon town faces genetic disaster

| | July 31, 2017

Brigham Young, who led the [Mormons] back in the mid-19th Century, was a passionate believer in [polygamy]. By the time he died, his family had swelled to 55 wives and 59 children.

Fast-forward to 1990, a century after polygyny was abandoned, and the upshot was only just beginning to emerge….[A] 10-year-old boy was presented to Theodore Tarby, a doctor specializing in rare childhood diseases. The boy had unusual facial features [and] was also severely physically and mentally disabled.

[S]oon Tarby had diagnosed a total of eight new cases…from the same region on the Arizona-Utah border, known as Short Creek…In this small, isolated community of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the likelihood of being born with fumarase deficiency is over a million times above the global average.

Colorado City is one of the two towns where the remote community live (Credit: iStock)

According to local historian Benjamin Bistline, 75 to 80% of people in Short Creek are blood relatives of the community’s founding patriarchs, Joseph Jessop and John Barlow.

“With polygyny you’re decreasing the overall genetic diversity because a few men are having a disproportionate impact on the next generation,” says Mark Stoneking, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The Polygamous Town Facing Genetic Disaster

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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