Are cousin marriages leading cause of mental retardation in Pakistan? Here’s what stats tell us

It should be noted that the paper took researchers from SZABMU, Netherlands’ Radboud University Medical Centre, and University of Maryland School of Medicine five years to complete.

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Twelve Professors from the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU) Islamabad collaborated with scientists from the Netherlands and the US to make a landmark discovery regarding cousin marriages.

The group of researchers and scientists discovered 30 genes that cause mental retardation in the local population. The research is now paving the way for preventive measures to reduce intellectual disabilities in future generations.

Pakistani scientists have announced the advancements made in the groundbreaking research. The research paper was published in Nature’s Molecular Psychiatry – a prestigious international journal with an impact factor of 13.3.

It should be noted that the paper took researchers from SZABMU, Netherlands’ Radboud University Medical Centre, and University of Maryland School of Medicine five years to complete.

While talking about the gene research in a press briefing, SZABMU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Javed Akram, the principal investigator from Pakistan, said:

This research is a landmark discovery for Pakistan as mental retardation is comparatively high in the country owing to cousin marriages in Pakistan.

The research concluded that the elevated level of endogamy in Pakistan has led to an increase in the prevalence of genetic disorders, including autosomal recessive intellectual disability (ARID). An average of 1.1 cases of severe ID and 6.2 cases per 100 live births of mild ID are reported in the country.

A researcher from the Netherlands joined in the press briefing and said:

The new findings further expand the existing repertoire of genes involved in mental retardation and provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms and the transcriptome map of the condition.

During the next month, the findings and their results will be released. Prof Hans van Bokhovenand from the Radboud University Medical Centre:

The results will play a significant role in improving the existing diagnostic procedures and treatment strategies, especially for Molecular deafness.

SZABMU’s Dr. S Riazuddin stated: 

The research aimed to help bring in new legislation for a battery of tests for postnatal screening of infants and prenatal screening for mental retardation and other hereditary diseases.

Talking about the future of gene research, the team said: 

We are also going to propose the government to make mandatory pre-marriage screening for families having genes that cause blindness, deafness, and intellectual disability.

He further stated:

The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has already registered some 3,000 such families from interior Sindh and south Punjab having such genes to consult before contracting within family marriages.

Click here to view the complete paper published in the Molecular Psychiatry journal.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share with us in the comment section below.

  • pakistan has a problem with cousin marriages because we hate other languages people Punjabi wont give his daughter pushton and puston wont give his daughter to pujabi or urdu speaking or other cultural differences

    pakistan needs to start trusting each other and follow Islamic laws and allow marriage according to Islam

    • Please do not comment on issues you have clearly no knowledge about. Even if people from Punjab married within their state, we are still talking about 125 million people. Punjabi is not an ethnicity.

      • its a fact and not my fault if you do not see the truth there is too much hatred among people they are divided in their cultures norms rather then islamic laws

  • Mental retardation is not just the only problem with the cousin marriage, The big villain is Thallasemia major that is prevailing in our country. I read somewhere that the government had made the thalassemia test mandatory for the couple before marriage but I haven’t seen a single person showing compliance with this rule. I don’t know even this rule exists or not.
    Can someone please confirm this?

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  • Just because cousin marriages are allowed in Islam, does not mean we should go crazy about it. Once in a while it is probably fine but repeated inbreeding like this would lead to disaster.

  • Toba Astaghfarullah kaisay musalmaan? Yeh to hamaray nabi saw ki Sunat mubarak hai. Is Dunya ka sab se mubarak Nikah jo is se pehlay Aur baad mein kisi ko naseeb na hua wo tha jo aasmanon mein Allah swt ne khud perhaya. Aur yeh sherf cousins ki shaadi ko mila jo Nabi saw Aur Hazart Zainab ra jo aapki phuphi zaad thein oon mein hua. Subhaan Allah paak hai hamaray Rab ka her hukam Aur jo oos ne halal kiya oos mein nuqsaan nehi Aur jo oos ne haraam kiya oos mein shifa nehi. Jis ko keeray pernay hein to ooski gandi shaitaani soch per pernay hein. Zehni pasmandgi Aur deen se jahil to admin Aur wo log nazar a rahay hein jo apnay Nabi ki siraat Aur apnay Rab se hi waaqif nehi. Thora western countries k bukhaar se bahir a ker aik baar Quran Aur seerat ki kitaab ka mutalaya bhi ker lein. Allah jahil logon se bachaye. Ameen.


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