A Cell Phone App Stops You from Accidentally Dating your Long-Lost Cousin

This app only works in Iceland. I was in the country last year and learned about it from several local residents.

With a population of only 320,000 people, Icelanders all know that everyone on the island is related to everyone else. In some cases, they might be closely related, such as second cousins. This presents a quandary when dating: is your date a candiate for marriage or perhaps could such a marriage lead to an incestuous relationship?

Icelanders have invented a novel solution to their problem of accidental incest: it’s an app called ÍslendingaApp SES. It evolved out of a project which began in the 90’s, called Islendiga (The Book of Icelanders), which provides an almost complete record of the genealogy of the country dating back at least 300 years.

How does the app work? Simply place your phone near someone else’s cell phone that is running the same app and the app will tell you how closely related you are.

Details may be found in an article by Jessica Brodie at: http://bit.ly/2tGdCJ2.


“Relatives In the Room” (I think that’s the app’s name) is at least close to doing this, isn’t it?


I know that in some cultures first cousins would be considered incestuous, but second cousins?


    Hi Israel: I saw an interesting documentary on Amazon about evolution that helps to explain the damage that can result from incestuous inbreeding. First, we can already see that from the inbreeding of the various royal families of Europe. In addition, this program found where population groups, particularly on islands, like Iceland, can get an inherited weak or erroneous gene start getting inherited in a family group and becomes a nightmare. Knowing that your spouse has the same condition, that the chances are high of children having that condition. So, this goes well beyond just the “scare” word of incest, into the whole concept of inheriting bad mutated genes from a limited gene pool. (There can be good mutations inherited, as well.)


    I have many instances of first cousins, or “cousins German as they are also known” and don’t see that as incestuous at all. Obviously some cultures have an issue with this. I agree what is wrong with 2nd cousins?


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