Tracing Your Roots: How Safe Is It to Date a Cousin?

Tracing Your Roots: How Safe Is It to Date a Cousin?

The Root
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
April 7, 2017

A woman seeks to know the risks of dating—and the risk of having offspring with—a relative.

Dear Professor Gates:

I want to date a fourth cousin of mine. Is that wrong? I’m curious to know how related we actually are. We do not plan to have any children together, but if we did, would there be a risk of passing along a genetic defect or disorder? —Sonya

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