Apr 10, 2020

Deaf intermarriage does not increase the prevalence of deafness alleles

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Derek C BraunM. Gray

Abstract

The idea that deaf intermarriage increases deafness was forcefully pushed in the late 19th century by Alexander Graham Bell, in proceedings published by the National Academy of Sciences. Bell's hypothesis was not supported by a 19th century study by Edward Allen Fay, which was funded by Bell's own organization, the Volta Bureau. The Fay study showed through an analysis of 4,471 deaf marriages that the chances of having deaf children did not increase significantly when both parents were deaf. In light of what appeared to be an increase in non-complementary pairings when a modern dataset of Gallaudet alumni was compared with the 19th century Fay dataset, Bell's argument has been resurrected in the published genetics literature that residential schools for the deaf, which concentrate signing deaf individuals, have promoted assortative mating based on language compatibility. A published report from a computer simulation posits that assortative mating could have increased the frequency of deafness alleles. Because this hypothesis, and the results of that computer simulation, contradict classical models of inbreeding introduced by Fisher and Wright, it is critically important that this hypothesis be thoroughly investigated. In this s...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Univariate Analysis
Biological Neural Networks
Genes
Sexual Dimorphism
Gene Expression
Nuclear mRNA Cis Splicing, via Spliceosome
RNA Splicing
Ontogeny
Drosophila melanogaster
Transcriptome

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