Why is inbreeding harmful?

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“Inbreeding” refers to a breeding technique that involves related subjects. This technique can be applied to plants, animals, and even human beings. Related subjects, in the case of humans and animals, literally refer to close relationships or affinities.  Examples of inbreeding subjects may involve the mating of a father and daughter, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, and the mating of first cousins, for example. This technique is done for a variety of reasons including to create offspring with similar genes, including recessive traits, and to study certain diseases that are gene-related.  Many people disapprove of inbreeding as a genetic mating technique because of the various harmful effects to the subjects involved.

In terms of animal subjects, for example, inbreeding has caused an increased rate of various metabolic disorders.  Some offspring from “inbred” parents are also more likely to have structural deformities or abnormalities.  Diseases from inbred parents are also passed on to the offspring. Similar results also occur for human subjects.  These effects are collectively known as “inbreeding depression” with some offspring having to deal with problems in their immune system and decline in fertility levels.  These effects are especially apparent in the first generation of inbred offspring. Some people will also grow relatively slower than normal individuals, and others may acquire genetic disorders and disabilities.

For many people, the fact that the first generation offspring will not be able to reproduce themselves puts a negative reputation on the inbreeding technique.  Most inbred offspring will be too sick to become fertile, and many of them are more likely to die early without having the chance to reproduce themselves.  Although some experts will point out the various benefits of inbreeding in terms of science and genetics, many people are convinced that this breeding technique poses more harm than good to the subjects involved whether humans or animals.

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