Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Genealogy Gives Birth to Incest Alert App

By Magdeline Lum

Icelanders can check if a potential mate is a relative, and bees lose electrons as they fly.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Imagine living on an island and one day you fall in love with a special person. However, there is a small disquiet in the back of your mind because you know that you are part of a small population and are related in some way to everyone else on the island.

The good news is that the population is large enough that not everyone knows one another. Everyone in a relationship on the island is in one with a relative but, for the most part, the relatives involved are distant so the statistics are on your side.

Love is a beautiful and rare thing. Would you take the plunge or would you not take the risk?

This is the situation in Iceland. An online registry, Íslendingabók (The Book of Icelanders), has information about 720,000 individuals who were born in Iceland. Currently the population is around 320,000. Everyone registered on the database has free access to it.

There are some perks to the genealogical information. Icelanders can see how closely related they are to Icelandic celebrities and politicians.

Getting back to the important matters of how closely related one is to a potential love interest, the answer is also on the database. However, accessing a database during a party or while out on the town is not the easiest of tasks so three engineers from Sad Engineer Studios have designed an app (currently only Android-based) that allows...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.