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Called Off Due to Genetics

Genetic testing results have led to the break up of thousands of couples in Saudi Arabia, the BBC reports.

After taking pre-marriage health tests, some 165,000 couples have called off their wedding plans after results indicated "genetic incompatibilities." This, the Saudi Gazette says, is about 60 percent of the participants in the program.

The program aims to reduce the incidence of hereditary disease in Saudi Arabia, which has one of the highest rates of genetic disease due to a long-standing tradition of marriage between close relatives, Emirates 24/7 News says.

The test screens for a number of diseases, including sickle cell disease and thalassemia and also HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

"The high percentage of failed engagements due to medical risks shows that the society has become more educated and aware of the importance of physical health," Mohammad Al-Saidi, the director for hereditary and chronic diseases at the Ministry of Health, tells the Saudi Gazette.

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