Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
Skip to main content

In many species, the offspring of related parents suffer reduced reproductive success, a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression. In humans, the importance of this effect has remained unclear, partly because reproduction between close relatives is both rare and frequently associated with confounding social factors. Here, using genomic inbreeding coefficients (FROH) for >1.4 million individuals, we show that FROH is significantly associated (p < 0.0005) with apparently deleterious changes in 32 out of 100 traits analysed. These changes are associated with runs of homozygosity (ROH), but not with common variant homozygosity, suggesting that genetic variants associated with inbreeding depression are predominantly rare. The effect on fertility is striking: FROH equivalent to the offspring of first cousins is associated with a 55% decrease [95% CI 44-66%] in the odds of having children. Finally, the effects of FROH are confirmed within full-sibling pairs, where the variation in FROH is independent of all environmental confounding.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41467-019-12283-6

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature communications

Publication Date

31/10/2019

Volume

10

Addresses

Centre for Global Health Research, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, Scotland.