It has been reported that studies of the genetic consequences of inbreeding should adopt a different strategy in populations having a relatively old inbreeding history and where inbreeding levels have varied orver time. This contention is tested with a series of 39,495 single-birth records from Bombay, India, collected in a World Health Organization survey on congenital malformations. Our analysis reveals that: 1. the incidence of major malformations is significantly higher among the inbred offspring (1.34%) as compared to that among non-inbred ones (0.81%)-a finding at variance with a previous study in the same area; 2. the inbreeding effect on perinatal mortality (stillbirths and mortality during the first few days of life) is also found to be significant. In view of the above findings, the genetic load as disclosed by inbreeding is computed for perinatal mortality, major malformations and pooling these together. A+B, the measure of the number of lethal equivalents per gamete, is found to be at variance with other reports. Such variability can be ascribed to non-genetic factors. Supporting evidence collected from Brazil and Malaysia in the same survey is also presented.
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