Inbreeding Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1840 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Genetics  ·  Buy This Paper


Over the centuries, inbreeding has often been used to create changes in attitudes and perceptions about the passing of various genes to future generations. In the past, many from the aristocracy often embraced these ideas. This is because they wanted to keep the most favorable genes within a select pool of individuals. The basic idea is that royalty or the socially elite could pass these traits onto their offspring. This would make them more prepared for their position by having the right genetic makeup. (Derry, 2012) (King, 2012) (Wolf, 2005)

A good example of this can be seen with horse breeding. In this case, champion racers are often mated with others who have favorable traits. The strategy is to continue to create a new line of horses that has the best genes from each parent. This will make them better prepared and more capable of fulfilling their intended purpose. (Derry, 2012) (King, 2012) (Wolf, 2005)

However, these strategies often involve many of the same relatives inbreeding with each other in order to keep the genes limited within specific pools of individuals. Over a series of generations, this has been known to create a number of challenges that will directly affect the health of their offspring. For instance, inbreeding over several generations in humans, will reduce the number of genes available to someone. This is because many of the chromosomes are mirroring each other's DNA and the weaknesses become more pronounced. When this happens, there is a realistic possibility of the person developing conditions such as: Down syndrome. This is when they have one too many chromosomes. The majority of these cases involve inbreeding, to various degrees over select periods of time. (Derry, 2012) (King, 2012) (Wolf, 2005)

To fully understand how this is occurring, requires focusing on the article that was written by HL Hemmings titled In Breeding Causes Early Death. This will be accomplished by looking at the purpose of the study, how the hypothesis was tested, what was revealed, the conclusions and a possible follow up research project. Together, these elements will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of inbreeding various life forms.

What is the purpose of the study; is there a hypothesis? Why is this work important or of interest?

The purpose of the study is to determine the impact of inbreeding on different species. This is from confusion surrounding these practices based on misinformation and half truths. The result is that this has been used by some to isolate the most dominate traits (in order to influence the development of the organism). (Hemmings, 2012)

The problem is that they will more than likely face some kind of health issues from these practices later on life. This is because the gene pool is limited and many of genetic weaknesses are exacerbated. The study seeks to determine the effect on different organisms and if it will influence their underlying levels of health. As a result, the hypothesis believes that inbreeding can create even more challenges. To deal with them, a new system needs to be created to show these effects. (Hemmings, 2012)

This is important, to those individuals who work closely with the field of genetics and reproduction. These insights can offer everyone with a better understanding of the long-term impacts of inbreeding on various organisms. Evidence of this can be seen with Hemmings (2012) saying, "Here we report the effects of relatedness (sib -- sib compared with unrelated individuals) on fertilization success, as well as the effects of inbreeding on survival from embryo development through to adulthood, using the zebra finch as a model. This demonstrates the observed effect of inbreeding on survival changes throughout development, with consider-able mortality occurring at a very early stage. We will demonstrate that failure to consider all life history stages may lead to an underestimation of the magnitude of inbreeding depression." This is showing how inbreeding can have negative effects on organisms at different stages of their lives. The study is seeking to understand how this is occurring and identify tools to help researchers in addressing these issues. (Hemmings, 2012)

How was the hypothesis tested, or the subject studied? Do you think the methods are appropriate?

The hypothesis was tested by conducting a study that compared the effects of inbreeding on different organisms (most notably: Zebras and birds). To determine these impacts, researchers had one group which experienced small amounts of inbreeding. This accounted for a total of 20 subjects. (Hemmings, 2012)

While rest of the participants, were exposed to tremendous amounts of inbreeding. This occurred with 77 subjects being exposed to increased levels. The first group was the independent variable. This served as the segment that was compared with the other group in order to determine where tremendous amounts of inbreeding occurred. These factors helped to improve the accuracy of the study. (Hemmings, 2012)

These methods are appropriate as they will objectively analyze what is happening and the long-term impacts on different organisms. This improves the accuracy of the findings by comparing the results with each other and then identifying similarities. These insights, offer a better understanding of what is happening over the long-term and the impacts it is having on various subjects in the process. Once this happens, is the point these trends can be used to identify what is happening and create a list of factors which are influencing the health of the individual. (Hemmings, 2012)

What was revealed? Are the data adequate for addressing the question or testing the hypothesis?

The study concluded that inbreeding can create tremendous challenges for the offspring later on in life. This is taking place in area such as: premature death and health complications. These factors make individual less adaptable to various ailments and conditions that will affect them. Once this happens, is the point the odds increase of these situations occurring. (Hemmings, 2012)

According to Hemmings, a new focus must be taken by carefully examining these variables at different stages in life of the individual with him saying, "Related partners may fail to reproduce and any inbred offspring may die early or fail to reproduce themselves. Here we show that inbreeding causes early death in the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata, and among inbred individuals of the same inbreeding coefficient (F), those that die early are more homozygous (estimated from single nucleotide polymorphisms) than those that survive to adulthood. Therefore, we identify two ways by which inbreeding depression may be underestimated in studies of inbreeding. First, a failure to study early life history could mean that the magnitude of inbreeding depression is routinely underestimated. Second, the observation that the most homozygous individuals of the same pedigree F. were the least likely to survive to sexual maturity provides evidence that realized inbreeding, estimated from a high density of markers spread throughout the genome, explains variation in survival above and beyond what pedigree-based measures of inbreeding can explain." (Hemmings, 2012)

This is showing how a new approach must be utilized to understand what could possibly happen in the future from inbreeding. As a result, the data is effective in understanding the research questions and testing the hypothesis. These variables are working in conjunction with each other to provide better insights about key issues. This is achieved through comparing and contrasting two different species with each other.

What are the conclusions and are they justified?

The conclusions are showing that inbreeding leads to early mortality rates in a host of organisms. This is because the gene pool is limited and there is the possibility of defects becoming more common within the individual's DNA. Once this happens, the odds increase of them experiencing added health problems from these challenges. (Hemmings, 2012) (Conley, 2008) (Derry, 2012) (King, 2012)

To deal with these issues, it is recommended that an all encompassing approach is utilized. This is when the effects of inbreeding are studied and can show how this will affect the organism at different stages of their lives. When this happens, they can make better determinations as to if this is the ideal breeding solution for them. (Hemmings, 2012) (Conley, 2008) (Derry, 2012) (King, 2012)

A good example of this can be seen with observations from Hemmings who said, "We have shown that the effect of inbreeding on zebra finch survival is not consistent across development, due to high mortality at a very early stage. If we are to fully understand the consequences of inbreeding for a population, it is crucial that all developmental stages are considered; otherwise, estimates of inbreeding depression may provide a biased or erroneous picture. This problem may be exacerbated, if inbred individuals that survive early mortality events are less homozygous than expected, given their pedigree-inbreeding coefficient. In particular, studies, where life history stages before hatching (or birth) are ignored, may fail to detect the consequence of inbreeding even when it is present." (Hemmings, 2012) This is indicating that another strategy must be utilized in the process to determine the impact of inbreeding on the organism. Once this takes place, is the point… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Inbreeding.  (2013, November 26).  Retrieved February 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Inbreeding."  26 November 2013.  Web.  18 February 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Inbreeding."  November 26, 2013.  Accessed February 18, 2019.