Guest Speaker 10/9/12
Racial-ethnic categories widely used in Human Genetics Researchers
-To understand human evolutionary history
-To understand human migration
-To understand racial health disparities
-To identify ancestral groups for individuals
Racial categories are highly problematic
-Race is a social construct, not a biological category
-More differences within than between groups
-Groups are continuous and boundaries arbitrary, fluid
But race works..
-There appear to be obvious human groupings
-Disease Distribution: Some diseases cluster along racial and ethnic lines
-Some genetic markers have higher prevalence among some populations than others
Do such findings show racial/ethnic groups are biological different?
-Some race be used as a proxy for allelic variation?
-Should findings be interpreted as evidence that racial groups are inherently different?
-Should medical diagnosis and treatments be tailored to racial and ethnic groups?
Many problems with the science of these generalizations
-Small variations and inconsistent results
-Genetic markers do not cluster along racial/ethnic lines
-Meanings of subspecies/races does not apply
-Genetic explanations for health disparities down playing complex causes: appeal of biological
-Local population are used as surrogates for larger divisions
Interviews with Genetic Scientists:
-Convenience sample n=30
-8 States and Canada
Collect and Report Race/Ethnicity?
Race Ethnicity 25 83%
Geographic Sample 05 17%
Race Ethnicity Difference Focus 22 73%