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Icelandic Web Site Helps Icelanders Find Out If They Are Committing Incest
by Jamie Frevele | 2:44 pm, February 6th, 2012
While it has produced the larger-than-life personality of Björk, Iceland is not a very big country. With a population of just 300,000 people, a common problem when two people decide to pursue a romantic relationship is how closely related they might be to each other. And not like “What if our ancestors had sex on the Mayflower?” More like, “What if our great-grandparents are the same?” Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But, apparently, it’s not that unusual to find yourself dating your own third or fourth cousin, and some Icelanders are finding that a bit too close for comfort. But now, Íslendingabók is here to help the people of Iceland stop themselves from becoming the next accidental Lannisters!
According to The Next Web, it’s not a question of if you’re related to the person you love, it’s “how far back” the familial connection is. (Though, there is still a pretty good chance that two Icelanders in love are not related at all.) All joking aside, this is merely an occupational hazard when there is less than half a million people in your country. And while not everyone using Íslendingabók is using it for the purpose of preventing incest, it is there to give people the information they need to trace their family trees back more than 1,200 years. Some users have found out that they have famous Icelandic relatives (yes, including Björk). But it the “Book of Icelanders” was also designed to provide several other genetics-based services.
It’s the result of a collaboration project between a genetics company, and an anti-virus software entrepreneur, and aims to trace all known family connections between Icelandic citizens. …
The site isn’t new but it has helped users trace their family ties to chart the spread of disease through generations, also providing research to suggest that fertility rates increased if couples were third or fourth cousins.
And that’s great, if you want to have sex with someone that closely related to you. (You and your third cousin have the same great-great-grandparents.) But at least now, you’ll know!
(via The Next Web)