Inbreeding: Downfall of a Dynasty
The termination of that royal lineage may be the result of frequent inbreeding of the line, which may have left Charles II ill and infertile, a new study suggests.
The House of Habsburg was one of the major royal houses of Europe for many centuries. The Habsburgs ruled over Austria for more than six centuries, eventually coming to rule (through marriages) over Bohemia, Hungary and Spain.
But, historical data show that "in order to keep their heritage in their own hands, the Spanish Habsburgs began to intermarry more and more frequently among themselves," the authors of the new study wrote.
Records show that the Spanish Habsburg kings frequently engaged in consanguineous marriage (or marriage between biological relatives); nine of the 11 marriages that occurred over the dynasty's 200-year reign were consanguineous, with two uncle-niece marriages and one first-cousin marriage.
Gonzalo Alvarez and his colleagues at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain calculated what is called the inbreeding coefficient for each individual across 16 generations of the Habsburgs, using genealogical information for Charles II and 3,000 of his relatives and ancestors. The inbreeding coefficient indicates the likelihood that an individual would receive two identical genes at a given position on a chromosome because of the relatedness of their parents.
comments powered by Disqus
- How the Vikings Saved Europe and Got a Terrible Reputation
- Hard Hats On: Members of the Media Tour Exhibits under Construction at the National Museum of American History
- Shaman dancers, coolies and suffragettes: rare photos of 1900s Beijing discovered from Austrian archive
- England's King Richard III died painfully on battlefield
- 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard charged
- Pro-Israel groups going after federal support of Middle East Studies
- 100th Anniversary of Beard's 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution' commemorated
- University of Illinois Bigwig to Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien: Drop Dead
- 2 of 21 MacArthur Fellows for 2014 are historians
- Ken Burns electrifies Jon Stewart show