Sunday, August 12, 2012

We Are All Cousins

During election years in the US, there is almost always a news story about the candidates being distant cousins. The reality is, we're pretty much all distant cousins if we're not close cousins or immediate family members.

All headlines are supposed to get attention.  Some do it by misleading. announced "Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick are Kissing Cousins, But That's Okay." Well of course it is okay. They are consenting adults. It would be okay if they were siblings. Elan Kesilman reports...

Kevin Bacon and wife Kyra Sedgwick have recently discovered they are related, thanks to PBS's Finding Your Roots. Bacon, however, isn't too concerned about the revelation, poking fun at their joint genealogy on Twitter: "Date night last night with @kyrasedgwick #KissingCousins."

Finding Your Roots' host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said the acting pair "are indeed distant cousins. So talk about six degrees of separation, right?" They are 10th cousins, once removed, in fact. It's really no big deal, and the couple's two children don't seem to have suffered any consequences from an incestuous birth. 

Of course the children didn't suffer. Most children born to sibling and parent-child parents are healthy, so such distant relations are not going to present a problem unless both of the actors carried a serious genetic disease.

Many people who are married or in relationships or have children together are much more closely related than these two, especially people who were born in the same country.
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1 comment:

  1. A now departed friend of mine, Bethel Blue Sky Gilberts, mentioned having read a genetics study one of whose conclusions is that genetically speaking, never mind the talk of "six degrees of separation": in fact, genetically, we're all at least 52nd cousins! - all of which brings to mind a much-neglected story of the fundamental rightness of consanguinamory by the late Theodore Sturgeon, to be found in the collection, "Dangerous Visions", edited by Harlan Ellison, and entitled, "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?"


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