Originally Posted by kristenfromdenver
My understanding is that the taboo comes from the risk of genetic malformations due to have too much genetic similarity.
I should know, I used to live in West Virginia
As this article points out, the genetic issue is vastly overblown in the U.S. public's mind:
First cousins face lower risk of having children with genetic conditions than is widely perceived
(http://www.washington.edu/newsroom/news/2002archive/04-02archive/k040302a.html - broken link)
The additional risk of genetic abnormalities among children conceived by first cousins is only 1.7 to 2.8% higher than the 3-4% likelihood experienced in the general population. Indeed, the increased risk is so low that the National Society of Genetic Counselors does not recommend routine genetic screening for such pregnancies. See: IngentaConnect Genetic Counseling and Screening of Consanguineous Couples and Th...
Finally, the state of West Virginia does not allow first cousin marriages. Twenty U.S. states do, however, and it is estimated that 20% of marriages around the world are between first cousins.
NOTE: No, I am not married to my cousin. I just get annoyed by uninformed and oft-repeated myths that are usually grounded in cultural bias.