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Amish plagued by genetic disorders

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posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 08:42 AM
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I found this interesting. Thought I'd share it with ya'll.
I don't know what the answer to this problem is. How
do you fix this with such a closed community without
destroying their faith and their fabric? Dunno.

(70% of Saudis now marry their 1st cousins. I suspect
we will start to see much the same thing with them soon.)

kyw.com...

Excerpt

Amish Plagued By Genetic Disorders
60 Minutes' Vicki Mabrey Reports
www.KYW.com
Jun 8, 2005

GEAGUA COUNTY, Ohio (CBS) It doesn’t get much more peaceful than the
simple life among the Amish in rural Ohio. They have no cars, no electricity,
no televisions.

But their children have medical conditions so rare, doctors don’t have
names for them yet, reports correspondent Vicki Mabrey.

The Amish make up only about 10 percent of the population in Geagua
County in Ohio, but they’re half of the special needs cases. Three of the
five Miller children, for example, have a mysterious crippling disease that
has no name and no known cure.

Their father, Bob Miller, says he realizes there is a crisis in the community,
which is why he and two other fathers, Irwin Kuhns and Robert
Hershberger, have agreed to break a strict Amish rule that forbids them to
appear on camera. The three sat for an informal interview.

Read the interview and info at the article -
kyw.com...


[edit on 6/11/2005 by FlyersFan]




posted on Jun, 11 2005 @ 12:40 PM
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How do you fix this with such a closed community without
destroying their faith and their fabric? Dunno.


One thing that might help a little bit is if Amish were to marry other Amish from other places. Of course, they all share the same few hundred ancestors anyway, but this would help a little bit, since one colony might have a slightly different set of ancestors than another. There's also the issue of travel. It's hard to get very far very fast using the technology that the Amish limit themselves to, so meeting even other potential Amish mates from other areas is extremely difficult, I would think.

The other way I see to fix this is if non-Amish were to intermarry with the Amish. Unless the non-Amish person were to convert, though, (do they let outsiders join, providing they kept the rules?) the Amish would never go along with this, and I don't exactly see a rush of people joining the Amish tradition, since their lifestyle is one a lot of people would find impossible to live.

I can think of a few other ideas that would work practically, but would be rejected by the Amish due to their beliefs and customs. (like artificial insemination, to add more genetic material to their group) Without a change in lifestyle, I don't see how the Amish will get around this problem very easily.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 09:21 AM
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This has been developing a long time (obviously). I do think an answer would be more intermingling of the various Amish groups. The Indiana Amish and the Pen/OH Amish immigrated at 2 differnet times and intermingling would provide more diversity of genetics.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 09:42 AM
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Excellent article, and thanks for posting it!

This is a real problem with closed societies ... but you have to wonder if, under more primitive conditions the genetic factors simply don't show up (since the people don't live long enough to reproduce.) Bushmen have a fairly small pool of people to intermarry with (as do others in other parts of the world) but with poor access to modern medicine, I suspect those with genetic flaws don't live long enough to have children.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 09:54 AM
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Perhaps it'd be more telling to look at other populations where breeding habits might contribute; Ashkenazi Jews, for example, have much higher incidences of certain hereditary conditions. Close-breeding is a contributory factor, yes - but to what degree?

More importantly, maybe the key is that (generally speaking) Amish populations don't have much contact with non-Amish doctors, and would certainly be less inclined to pursue genetic counselling; many similar "close-knit" populations don't have this bias, and are more likely to seek counselling if there's prior evidence of a hereditary condition.

As an aside, England allows the marrying of first cousins. With one or two exceptions (haemophilia being the obvious example - see the history of the Royal Family), the increase in such conditions seems to be negligible.

Straight Dope has some interesting info, with a perhaps more clinical voice to be seen here at U of Washington.

It seems to be a common misconception that marrying your cousin is a sure-fire recipe for disastrous offspring.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:13 PM
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The state of New Jersey also allows marrying of first cousins, I suspect because of our large
immigrant population and the traditions they hold, it is these marriages that allow more immigrants to enter and stay in the country as it is a ticket into citizenship.

Immigrants = Taxation without representation, for instance my wife has been paying taxes, social security, medicaid, etc for six years, and she can't vote, has no representative in congress or senate.

Just added that in case you are thinking "cousins? eeww why on earth!?!?"



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:15 PM
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She can do all of those things and vote if she applies for (and is granted) citizenship....

I'm in the same boat
(legal resident vs. citizen).

Long gone are the days when marriage = automatic citizenship.

But that's goin' off topic a smidge



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:16 PM
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I'd be happy to volunteer my services for a fee



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:28 PM
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Just shows the importance of diversity in populations and how important it is to avoid a closed gene pool. It works for crops, and the basics apply to humans as well. Remember the "punnet Square" in biology?? If both parents have the undesireable trait, its hard to not pass it so you either carry it or you have it.


A family tree with no branches is not always the way to go.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 09:30 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
Just shows the importance of diversity in populations and how important it is to avoid a closed gene pool. It works for crops, and the basics apply to humans as well. Remember the "punnet Square" in biology?? If both parents have the undesireable trait, its hard to not pass it so you either carry it or you have it.


A family tree with no branches is not always the way to go.


Ya the punnet square, there is a cool little tool, helps you figure out if your going to go bald or who gave you that big nose.

Inbreeding is a problem, it contributes to many genetic disorders. A trait like you said is just "recycled" in the gene pool. After constant inbreeding, deformaties of the bones in the legs are possible.

Look at Queen Victoria's royal bloodline, due to inbreeding, hemophilia plauged them.

[edit on 6/28/2005 by GoldEagle]



posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 03:49 PM
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This is a great link about Queen Victoria and the haemophilia link.

Interestingly, Jared Diamond has posited that Ashkenazi Jews have, perhaps as a result of the higher incidence of Tay-Sachs, immunity towards TB.

This needs more investigation, obviously, but it's an interesting sidenote.

To wit...little snippet from Gregory Cochran's article regarding the whole question of whether certain genetic conditions result in higher or lower intelligence amongst certain peoples, we note that:

"certain hereditary neurological diseases are more common among the Ashkenazi than in any other group, and in several of these syndromes, the great majority of all cases are found among the Ashkenazi, who make up less than 0.2% of the human race. ~4% of the Ashkenazi are carriers for Tay-Sachs, about 1% are carriers for Niemann-Pick, ~5% carry a Gaucher mutation, ~1% carry a mutation for mucolipidosis type IV, ~2% carry a Canavan mutation, ~3% carry the familial dysautonomia gene, and about 0.03% have the dominant torsion dystonia mutation. Altogether about 16% of Ashkenazi Jews carry one of these mutations"

Very, very unusual findings, considering the probability.

And I'm not even going to attempt to delve into the whole "intelligence" side of things - was just pointing out more about genetics and small populations



posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 06:49 PM
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The Amish are pretty good people by in large if they could ever get past the whole inbreeding factor. For them to have very desired qualities in furniture making, etc. etc. the leadeership should open the gene pool just a little so they can get some new blood in. Genetic disorders are just the tip of the iceberg with them. They are also more prone to other social disorders that the genetic disorders bring on. It is a perputial circle or cycle they live in and let very, very few insiders in.



posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 06:54 PM
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I guess they wouldn't be up for artifiical insemination? Oh well.



posted on Jul, 1 2005 @ 01:29 AM
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Originally posted by FLYIN HIGH
The Amish are pretty good people by in large if they could ever get past the whole inbreeding factor. For them to have very desired qualities in furniture making, etc. etc. the leadeership should open the gene pool just a little so they can get some new blood in. Genetic disorders are just the tip of the iceberg with them. They are also more prone to other social disorders that the genetic disorders bring on. It is a perputial circle or cycle they live in and let very, very few insiders in.


Someone asked in an earlier thread if the Amish and Mennonites allow outsiders , the 'English' to be married into the culture. The answer is yes, but I suspect that there are very few of us 'English' that would give up the convienience of modern technology.

Our church once had a Mennonite as our pastor, and he and his family were some of the greatest examples of humanity and charity I have ever observed. His wife was not brought up as a Mennonite, she married in and was converted. The problem is that there is not enough genetic matierial entering these communities to offset these disorders. Also many of these disorders are isolated inside these communities. Entirely new disorders have been discovered no where else but within the the Amish.

I know for myself, I would like to give up modern living for a simpler time, but I could never actually do it. I suspect others would reject thier way of life to continue on our paths.

Sadly, in a few generations, the Amish communities may actually begin to die off, and eventually disappear. An entire culture would have been lost because of thier own beliefs.



posted on Jul, 1 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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Originally posted by WissNX01
I know for myself, I would like to give up modern living for a simpler time, but I could never actually do it. I suspect others would reject thier way of life to continue on our paths.

Most would. Imagine being in Arizona during a heat wave and your beliefs require you to wear a longsleeved dress and have no air conditioning. This is part of the reason people died early... environmental stress.


Sadly, in a few generations, the Amish communities may actually begin to die off, and eventually disappear. An entire culture would have been lost because of thier own beliefs.

I don't know if I'd mourn the passing of the culture. There are a lot of cultures that believe their purpose is to NOT breed... the Oneidas, for instance) and to not put anymore humans on the Earth.

But it's interesting about religious cultures being a source of inbreeding. You'd expect to see this on island communities, but not on the continent.



posted on Jul, 12 2005 @ 07:46 PM
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Originally posted by Indellkoffer

Most would. Imagine being in Arizona during a heat wave and your beliefs require you to wear a longsleeved dress and have no air conditioning. This is part of the reason people died early... environmental stress.



ROFL

People acclimatize. Long clothing is preferable to less in conditions where shade is scarce and the sun strong. Also, long clothing allows for accumulation of sweat in clothing which provides longer sweat evaporation times.

Environmental stress is far greater in modern areas than undeveloped areas.



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 07:14 AM
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reply to post by Jeremiah_John
 


The problem is civilisation and medicine. Grey squirrels in the UK are descended from just six individuals and show no sign of the problems of inbreeding because in nature defects are punished with death.
Humans though have sentimentality and cure their defectives and sick with science. The resulting "mutational load" is building up in all populations. Its the cave fish syndrome. Eventually genetic mutations of albinism spread followed by blindness.
Humans ultimately need a eugenic system in order to prevent all future humans being born blind, albino with heart malformations. Even to the extent of rejecting medicine. The alternative is that humans will no longer be biologically viable in about 150 years because of their mutational load.



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 07:37 AM
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I don't know why people expect anything other than what has happened. When you continuously inbreed for years on end, you're going to end up with some strange stuff.

Want to stop getting strange diseases? Stop marrying your own relatives! Duh.

Another common problem in the Amish community is the subject of this article. One has to wonder how many of these kids with the strange diseases are the products of incest.

I don't know if this is the same gal, but I watched a newsmagazine docu on this same issue. The girl escaped the enclave. Her father brought her back and knocked most of her teeth out. She was rescued by her non-Amish friends who paid to have her teeth replaced and got her started on the path to a normal life.

I commend her, and other Amish women, for having the courage to bring this to the public's attention.

[edit on 7/2/08 by Sleuth]



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