Inter-family marriage discouraged

Between 3 per cent and 4 per cent of children born in the UAE suffer from genetic disorders as a result of their parents being related.

ABU DHABI // Between 3 per cent and 4 per cent of children born in the UAE suffer from genetic disorders as a result of their parents being related.

In a statement to Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National, Dr Yussuf Abdul Razzaq, professor at the School of Medicine in UAE University in Al Ain and chairman of the scientific committee of Hamdan bin Rashid’s Award for Medical Sciences, said marriage among relatives led to a higher incidence of genetic disorders, especially thalassaemia and anaemia.

“This calls for the need to reduce the rate of marriage among relatives,” he said.

“Marriage among relatives accounts for nearly 50 per cent of all marriages in the Emirati community, according to a study conducted in recent years. We need to conduct a new study to take stock of the changes that may have occurred since the last study.”

He expected that the rate of marriage among relatives would decrease in the coming years because of the social changes and the increased awareness about the health risks involved in these forms of marriage.

Dr Abdul Razzaq noted that between 7 per cent and 8 per cent of Emiratis were carriers of the beta thalassaemia gene, which meant they were prone to developing the disease. He pointed out that a new series of genetic disorders had been discovered in the UAE, which were not recorded in previous medical research.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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