Consanguinity and genetic diseases among the Bedouin population in the Negev

Sarah Singer, Nadav Davidovitch, Yasmeen Abu Fraiha, Naim Abu Freha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Arab Bedouins (AB) in Israel are traditionally a semi-nomadic population. Their average birth rate is extremely high (birth rate of 5.43, as well is their high consanguinity rate (44%), despite having decreased from 60% in 1992. Additionally, their mean inbreeding coefficient is 0.0238.The high rate of consanguinity results in a high prevalence of recessive genetic and multifactorial disorders as well as high infant mortality rate (11 per 1000 live births). Various genetic diseases are prevalent in AB, exemplifying how extensive the impact of consanguinity is on the community. Targeted screening programs are provided for prevalent severe genetic diseases. However, despite initial success, genetic screening is still underutilized in AB. AB, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and different social associations should plan and manage programmed interventions. These programs should work intensively to further educate and raise awareness regarding consanguinity and its potential harms, to increase trust and collaboration between the community and the public health system, to expand screening and premarital consultations, and to create a genetic bank (specific mutations/whole genome) for the AB community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Bedouin
  • CIPA
  • Consanguinity
  • Genetic diseases
  • Infant mortality
  • Negev

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


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