The Fugate family of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky regularly inbred with their relatives since they lived in an isolated community
One incestuous family was so heavily inbred that their skin turned blue after a rare genetic condition was passed down through the generations.
The Fugate family of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky regularly inbred with their relatives since they lived in a remote rural community.
Inbreeding began in 1820 when Martin Fugate and his wife, Elizabeth Smart, met in the remote area of Appalachia in Perry County, Kentucky.
Mr. Fugate had a very rare and unusual genetic condition called methemoglobinemia, which affects just 0.0035 percent of the world’s population.
The condition means the blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen around the body like it normally should, and as a result, the blood turns brown due to a lack of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Therefore, the skin of white patients turns blue, and the lips turn purple in some people.
When Martin and Elizabeth had seven children, four of them were born with blue skin due to the recessive gene called methemoglobinemia.
However, because the gene was recessive, the condition would not have affected future children if they had not married in their own family.
But because the family lived in such a rural outback, the Fungates didn’t meet other people and marry their cousins.
They had families in the small community with the Combs, the Richies, the Smiths, and the Stacys.
Zacharia, one of Martin and Elizabeth’s children, bizarrely married his own aunt and another son married a close cousin.
Another child later married her cousin as well, as Luna Fugate was known as the bluest member of the family, described as having “lips as dark as a bruise”.
She married John Stacy in the late 19th century and had 13 children together.
While rare, methemoglobinemia can cause developmental disabilities and seizures, it had no impact on the family as Luna lived to age 84.
And their children are said to be healthy despite their blue appearance.
Her highly unusual story caught the interest of blood expert Dr. Madison Cawein of the University of Kentucky, who was intrigued by the family.
In the 1960s he set out to track them down and was able to meet some of the surviving Fugate family while assessing their condition.
He said the family’s blood was missing a key enzyme and believed if he injected them with the blue dye methylene it could make a difference.
Remarkably, the blue skin disappeared within a few days, but it only lasted a few days.
dr However, Cawein encouraged the family to take methylene pills daily to relieve their condition.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/incestuous-family-were-inbred-skin-27206545 Incestuous families were bred to make their skin BLUE and passed down through the generations