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The influence of consanguineous marriage on reproductive behaviour in India and Pakistan

Bittles, A.H. (1995) The influence of consanguineous marriage on reproductive behaviour in India and Pakistan. In: Boyce, A.J. and Reynolds, V., (eds.) Diversity and Adaptability in Human Populations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, pp. 72-85.


Human populations can be defined as collectivities of people living together and sharing a number of biological and social characteristics. Such populations differ from one another in many respects. There are genetic differences, which may be the result of natural selection or random genetic drift. There are morphological differences which may be the results of genetic factors but are also influenced by nutrition, and other environmental features. There are cultural differences which to a greater or lesser extent control human behaviour. A further kind of diversity in human populations is their disease association. Because of the different climatic zones of the work, different disease vectors and agents alter the disease environment of human beings. All cultures attempt to control disease, but in much of the world these attempts are far from successful, leading to differential patterns of morbidity and mortality in different populations. All of the processes distinguished above interact with each other to produce the diversity of populations we encounter across the world. The study of population genetic has led to the discovery of the selective advantages of particular genes, together with an understanding that not all genetic differences are the product of natural selection, but that neutral processes operate as well.

Human history is to some extent the history of population migrations, and as a result the world's populations are not discrete entities but grade into each other at the genetic, morphological and cultural levels. The present volume explores all these aspects of human diversity and the various ways in which they constitute adaptations to the diverse environments in which human populations live.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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