# Coefficient of inbreeding

a statistical way of gauging how close two people are as to the genes. The coefficient of inbreeding (symbolised as f) is the probability that a person with two identical genes received both genes from an identical ancestor. Take first cousins who by definition share a set of grandparents. So for any particular allele (gene) in the father, the chance that the mother inherited the same allele from the same source is 1/8. Further, for any gene the father passes to his child, the chance is 1/8 that the mother has the same gene and 1/2 that she transmits that gene to the child so 1/8 X 1/2 = 1/16. Thus, a first-cousin marriage has a coefficient of inbreeding f =1/16. The added risks to the offspring of first cousins depend not only upon this coefficient of inbreeding but also upon the genetic family history and, in some cases, upon test results (for example, for beta thalassaemia for first cousins of Italian descent). However, there are always added risks from the mating of closely related persons and those risks are not negligible.