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Exogamy is a social arrangement where marriage is allowed only outside a social group. The social groups define the scope and extent of exogamy, and the rules and enforcement mechanisms that ensure its continuity. In social studies, exogamy is viewed as a combination of two related aspects: biological and cultural. Biological exogamy is marriage of nonblood-related beings, regulated by forms of incest law. A form of exogamy is dual exogamy, in which two groups engage in continual wife exchange. Cultural exogamy is marrying outside a specific cultural group; the opposite being
In biology, exogamy more generally refers to the mating of individuals who are relatively less related genetically: that is,
Scientists surmise that the drive in humans, as in many animals, to engage in exogamy (outbreeding) is evolutionarily adaptive, as it reduces the risk of children having genetic defects caused by inbreeding, as a result of inheriting two copies of a recessive gene. The genetic principles involved apply to all species, not just humans.
Individuals who breed with more 'exotic' (or distant) partners and avoid incestuous relationships tend to have