Journal of Biosocial Science

Research Article

Consanguineous marriage within social/occupational class boundaries in Pakistan

Sajjad A. Shamia1, Jonathan C. Granta2 and Alan H. Bittlesa2

a1 Department of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

a2 Biomedical Sciences Division, King's College, University of London.


Data on patterns of consanguineous marriage were collected from 5340 families resident in eight cities in the Pakistan province of Punjab. To assess whether social and/or occupational class was interacting with con-sanguinity, information also was obtained on the hereditary qaum to which each family belonged. In the present generation 46·5% of all marriages were contracted at the level of second cousin or closer, with an average coefficient of inbreeding (F) of 0·0286, and the results indicated that in each of the seventeen qaums there was strong preference for marriage to a close biological relative. However, significant differences existed in the distribution of consanguineous marriage by qaum membership, which could interfere with the interpretation of studies into the biological effects of inbreeding.

(Received September 02 1992)