Saturday, March 25, 2006

Science Saturday II: Saving the Bedouin

The Bedouin nomads who roam the deserts of the Middle East have been betrayed by their own genes.

Bedouins do not carry more genetic mutations that the general population, but because as many as 65 percent marry relatives, they have a significantly higher chance of marrying someone who carries the same mutations, which increase the odds they will have children with genetic diseases.

Hundreds of children have been born with such diseases among the Negev Bedouin in the last decade. Many of the diseases are not only rare but extremely severe, among them aplasia cutis, in which babies are born with no skin on their skull.

The Bedouin's plight is being addressed by an unusual Israeli-Palestinian scientific team. The New York Times has the story.

No comments: