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In nearly every culture, incest (the activity that involves first-degree relatives having intercourse and conceiving children with each other) is considered taboo but it hasn't always been the case.

In ancient Egypt, the rulers would often marry their siblings or even their own offspring to keep their bloodline "pure" and this gave us the first glimpses of what genetic mutations could result from this practice.

Genetic problems, as a result of incest, can result in the child developing conditions where recessive genes would otherwise not occur if an unrelated male and female were to conceive. In other words, similar genes being passed onto one child may result in recessive abnormalities occurring.

There are many genetic abnormalities and mutations that can occur due to incest and this can result in numerous physical and mental conditions.

Cleft Palate

A cleft palate occurs when the roof of the mouth doesn't develop and close properly and the sinus passages are then exposed. The condition makes speaking, eating swallowing, and breathing more challenging.

Club Foot

A club foot is not necessarily a condition that is limited to those who practice incest but it does tend to occur in children born of this situation. A club foot occurs as a result of the bones in the feet developing poorly resulting in a curved, malformed, and misshapen limb.

Misshapen Skulls

Looking back at many of the mentioned Egyptian Pharaohs' busts, one will notice that their skulls seem to be quite elongated at the back. One such ruler, King Tutankhamen, also suffered from issues such as a cleft palate, club foot, and scoliosis of the back.


In this case, a child is born with an unusually small head. Currently, among Pakistani Muslims, the practice of intermarrying is still taking place and a recent study has shown that over 60 percent of Pakistanis are taking part in blood-relative intermarrying. Microcephaly doesn't allow the brain to develop fully and this can lead to moderate to severe mental restriction.


Haemophilia is a bleeding disorder where specific clotting factors are absent and this leads to prolonged and even life-threatening bleeds that may occur as a result of slight trauma to the affected person. In severe cases, the bleeding can even occur spontaneously. Numerous European royal families were plagued with this disease as a result of incest. 

Fused Limbs

With incest, fused limbs seem to occur more commonly as a result of the genetic mutations caused by this practice more than other appendage-linked abnormalities such as extra or missing limbs. 


This condition occurs as a result of the body lacking melanin which gives skin its pigment. Individuals with albinism have near-white hair, a pale skin, and light eyes even if they come from a dark-skinned heritage. Albinism is an autosomal recessive condition which makes it occur more often in situations where first-degree relatives and cousins having children with each other.


Dwarfism is a condition that involves underdevelopment of the limbs of an affected individual resulting in a shorter stature. Their torsos and heads develop normally though. These individuals also seem to have problems with their hearts during their lifetime. The condition isn't seen as a result of just one generation of incest but rather as a result of inbreeding that occurs over many generations.

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