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Furthermore, the more family intermarriage in a society, the greater the benefit of intermarrying on the number of children couples had.

In other words, in societies in which people frequently married their relatives, intermarrying showed a stronger link to having more children.

It is also prohibited for Roman Catholics: Pope Gregory I banned the practice in the 6 century.

Perhaps it’s worth adding that the United States is the only nation in the world with legal restrictions against first cousin unions.

Since that time we've developed strong feelings for one another and have even begun to talk about marriage. How distant from the family line does a relative need to be in order to qualify as a potential spouse? As you’re apparently aware, you’ve touched upon a controversial issue.

In fact, some combination of these explanations is likely, the researchers said.

Still, it's hard to untangle whether there's a causal link between inbreeding and producing more children, Bailey said.

According to Leviticus 18:6-18, a man is forbidden to marry the following: Notably, cousins are not included in the list.

As a matter of fact, if the example of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah is any indication, it would appear that cousin marriage was fairly common in the ancient world.

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