Race and Genetics: Attempts to Define the Relationship

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Race and Genetics: Attempts to Define the Relationship

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dc.contributor.author Fullwiley, Duana
dc.date.accessioned 2009-05-29T13:41:40Z
dc.date.issued 2007
dc.identifier.citation Fullwiley, Duana. 2007. Race and genetics: Attempts to define the relationship. BioSocieties 2(2): 221-237. en
dc.identifier.issn 1745-8552 en
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3008239
dc.description.abstract Many researchers working in the field of human genetics in the United States have been caught between two seemingly competing messages with regard to racial categories and genetic difference. As the human genome was mapped in 2000, Francis Collins, the head of the publicly funded project, together with his privately funded rival, announced that humans were 99.9 percent the same at the level of their genome. That same year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began a research program on pharmacogenetics that would exploit the .01 percent of human genetic difference, increasingly understood in racial terms, to advance the field of pharmacy. First, this article addresses Collins’ summary of what he called the ‘vigorous debate’ on the relationship between race and genetics in the open-access special issue of Nature Genetics entitled ‘Genetics for the Human Race’ in 2004. Second, it examines the most vexed (if not always openly stated) issue at stake in the debate: that many geneticists today work with the assumption that human biology differs by race as it is conceived through American census categories. It then presents interviews with researchers in two collaborating US laboratories who collect and organize DNA by American notions of ‘race/ethnicity’ and assume that US race categories of classification largely traduce human biogenetic difference. It concludes that race is a practical and conceptual tool whose utility and function is often taken for granted rather than rigorously assessed and that ‘rational medicine’ cannot precede a rational approach to addressing the nature of racial disparities, difference and inequality in health and society more broadly. en
dc.description.sponsorship African and African American Studies en
dc.description.sponsorship Anthropology en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Cambridge University Press en
dc.relation.isversionof http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1745855207005625 en
dash.license LAA
dc.subject race en
dc.subject rational medicine en
dc.subject genetics en
dc.title Race and Genetics: Attempts to Define the Relationship en
dc.relation.journal BioSocieties en
dash.depositing.author Fullwiley, Duana

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7374]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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