Inbreeding and learning disability in Croatian island isolates

I Rudan, D Rudan, H Campbell, Z Biloglav, R Urek, M Padovan, L Sibbett, B Janicijevic, N S Narancic, P Rudan

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of learning disability (LD) in isolate populations with different inbreeding coefficients (F). Prevalence of LD and F were determined in 10 villages from five Croatian islands: Brac, Huar, Korcula, Lastovo and Susak. For the purpose of this study, LD was defined as the inability to attend the public school system. As the elementary schools (grade 1-8) in the place of the study are both public and compulsory, the assessment of child's inability to attend the school is performed at the age of six. This is required by all children in the country based on standard set of tests of cognitive performance defined by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Croatia. The average inbreeding coefficients in each village population (F) were estimated in a random sample of 20-30% adults in each of the 10 villages based on 4 ancestral generations and using Wright's path method. Prevalence of LD ranged from 0.43% to 2.47%, and the inbreeding coefficients ranged from 0.8% to 4.9%. The Pearson's correlation coefficient between F and LD prevalence was 0.80 (p<0.01). Although the relative risk per 5% inbreeding appeared very high (about 10), the absolute risk only increased from 0.18% to 1.77%. The genetic effect of inbreeding (GEI) was approximately 0.69% and the population-attributable fraction 76.6%. A review of the literature and the results of this study lead to a conclusion that a very large number of predominantly recessive genetic factors might mediate the genetic susceptibility to various forms of LD in these populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-428
Number of pages8
JournalCollegium Antropologicum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002




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