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About Race & Human Biotechnology


Racist ideas and practices have marred the history of science, with low points including the eugenics movement and medical experiments on vulnerable populations. Public awareness and social oversight are needed to ensure that these sorts of occurrences are not repeated.

Today, some geneticists and biomedical researchers are searching for genetic differences between racial groups, raising concerns that these biological variations may be used to justify inequitable outcomes that are created by social, environmental, and economic forces. However well-meaning, this could lead to gross abuse.

Genetic researchers have been particularly interested in indigenous peoples. Their reproductive insularity has led to a genetic homogeneity that can facilitate searches for correlations between specific genes and phenotypic traits. Many indigenous people object to this work for a variety of practical and ethical reasons, including the patenting and commercialization of genetic information, the lack of fully informed consent, the potential for genetic discrimination, and the disproportionate allocation of public funds to genetic research rather than to direct health care and prevention programs.



Bering Strait Theory, Pt. 6: DNA, Blood Types and Stereotypesby Alex Ewen Indian Country Today Media NetworkJuly 19th, 2014The use by geneticists of the pseudo-scientific classifications of American Indians has been unfortunate.
Race, Genetics and Voting?by Ian Haney LópezMoyers & CompanyJuly 18th, 2014Naturalistic assumptions about race mislead liberals in their effort to fathom race’s astringent power, shifting the focus from social dynamics to inherited essences.
Rethinking 21st Century Racism on the Way Homeby Victoria MassieGeneWatchJuly 17th, 2014When American genetic ancestry meets the ancestral homeland, DNA acquires a degree of contingency from which it cannot escape. This may serve as a means to rethink what potential there is of reifying the idea of "race" as we have known it.
The Fault in Our DNA: Reviews of A Troublesome Inheritance and Inheritanceby David DobbsThe New York TimesJuly 10th, 2014Nicholas Wade's book is deeply flawed, deceptive and dangerous. Sharon Moalem’s account reminds us that whatever its promise, genetics yet stands at a humble place.
Highly Placed Media Racistsby Steve RendallFAIRJuly 2nd, 2014Nicholas Wade's views raise questions about his tenure at The New York Times, and about corporate media vigilance on coverage of racism.
Implications of Genetic Diversity in Mexicoby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 25th, 2014Two genomic surveys, one of Mexicans and one of self-identified Latinos, raise questions about the scientific use of cultural terms, and also hold implications for personalized medicine.
White Rabbitby Patricia J. WilliamsThe NationJune 23rd, 2014In a guise of scientific seriousness, Nicholas Wade’s new book revives the discredited ideas of history’s most notorious racists.
Eugenicists Never Retreat, They Just Regroup: Sterilization and Reproductive Oppression in Prisonsby Loretta RossRH Reality CheckJune 12th, 2014Women in California prisons have been illegally sterilized, nearly four decades after sterilization abuse guidelines were implemented at the state and the federal level.
A Troublesome Controversyby Pete ShanksThe Huffington PostJune 9th, 2014Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History has been out for a month, and the fuss seems to be dying down. So, is "scientific racism" dead? Unfortunately, it's too soon for that particular funeral.
Wading into Racismby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 6th, 2014A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History has been out for a month, and the fuss, such as it was, seems to be dying down, but the underlying issues remain significant.
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