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Kinship characterized by the sharing of common ancestors (derived from the Latin consanguineous, meaning of common blood). Kin are of two basic kinds: consanguineous (sharing common ancestors) and affinal (related by marriage). Today consanguinity is a genetic concept that influences the probabilities of specific combinations of characteristics, called genotypes. The probability that two consanguineous individuals will share the same traits depends upon the mode of inheritance (dominant or recessive) and the degree of penetrance or expressivity of the causative gene. Higher rates of mortality and rare diseases and disorders are more common in the offspring of consanguineous unions. While consanguineous marriages of various degrees have been practiced, all societies have incesttaboos prohibiting marriage or sexual relations between certain kin.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on consanguinity, visit Britannica.com.