Icelanders Avoid Inbreeding Through Online Database

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Nowadays, some light Internet stalking is as common a pre-date ritual as showering or putting on a clean shirt. But for Icelanders, that online screening process can include running a date’s name through a genealogical database.

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Sound ridiculous? Consider this: when you live in an isolated nation with a population roughly the size of Pittsburgh, accidentally lusting after a cousin is an all-too-real possibility. But a search engine called Íslendingabók (the Book of Icelanders) allows users to plug in their own name alongside that of a prospective mate, determining any familial overlap. The site claims to track 1,200 years of genealogical information about the island’s inhabitants. Anyone with an Icelandic ID number — that is, citizens and legal residents — is accounted for, the New York Daily News reports.

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Not only can the site rule out courtships that might be a bit too close for comfort, but also it helps users determine if they share family ties with any famous Icelanders. One man learned he was related to the singer Björk seven generations back, as well as Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Global Post reports. He also discovered that his ex-wife was his seventh cousin.

The venture resulted from a collaboration between a genetics research company and a software entrepreneur. If only the site could also rule out close-talkers, all the world’s dating problems would be solved.

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