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And a study carried out in Bradford where there are a high level of Pakistanis living, showed that birth defects are increased when two family members procreate.
Out of 11,000 births between 20 in Bradford, more than 2,000 babies were born from first cousin parents.
The children had a six per cent chance of having an abnormality from birth, compared to the average of three per cent.
The following century this changed, thanks to technological changes and the growth of cities, by 1950 people were marrying, on average, their seventh cousins. Improved modes of transportation allowed people to travel further to look for a spouse.
Before 1950, people tended to stay within a six-mile radius of where they were born and stayed just in the same place.
This means the condition can only be passed on to a child if both parents have a copy of the faulty gene – both are "carriers" of the condition.