I like to keep up to date with the main news stories of the day. For some reason this one almost slipped by.
Ian Gibson (whose dry wit and caustic comments on aspects of government policy I enjoy hearing when he is interviewed on any of the BBC radio stations in the mornings) has apologised for suggesting that inbreeding may have been responsible for rates of diabetes in his Norfolk constituency. I love the last paragraph of the BBC report
“Words like inbreeding and outbreeding were professional genetic terms he said but for the public they had different connotations, he said. “
Probably best not to comment on this, coming from a land of flat heads and big feet.
But, as a former pigeon fancier I note that inbreeding and outbreeding have very specific connotations and values in the preservation of the bloodlines of champion families. Often in examining the pedigrees of champions (ie those pigeons which perform consistently well in classic races – those races of 440 – 700 miles) it will be notable that at the level of great-grandparents one pigeon will appear three times as great-grandparent – meaning one of the parents is the progeny of a half-brother, half-sister pairing. This close inbreeding is perceived by the breeders to concentrate the virtues of the line. However, in order to avoid genetic recession typically out-crosses will be acquired – usually from other line-bred winning families. The progeny or grandchildren of this first cross between “in-bred” families often perform incredibly well in races. I am not sure of the level of diabetes in these cases…