Presentation on theme: " Schwartz, R. S. 2001. “Racial Profiling in Medical Research.” New England Journal of Medicine 344(18): 1392 – 1393. Winker, M. A. 2004. “Measuring."— Presentation transcript:
Schwartz, R. S “Racial Profiling in Medical Research.” New England Journal of Medicine 344(18): 1392 – Winker, M. A “Measuring Race and Ethnicity: Why and How?” JAMA 292(13): 1612 – “About Minority Health.” Center for Disease Control Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Best estimates are that anatomically modern humans migrated from Africa approximately 65,000 to 25,000 years ago All current human populations are descended from those individuals Because of our recent descent from common ancestors, there has been a small amount of evolutionary time for diversity to arise in human populations Current African- Americans are descended both from African slaves and from other groups— Europeans, Native Americans, etc. As a result, there is much genetic diversity within ethnic groups and much similarity between groups
Notions of “race” vary according to time and place In the 19th century you were a “negro” if 1/8 of your family inheritance was from slaves In the 2000 census 14 million Americans listed themselves as belonging to at least two races Is Barak Obama black? Who gets counted as belonging to what group reflects a complex social labeling process Race is in this sense “socially constructed”
A common justification for slavery was that blacks were biologically, innately inferior Scientists in the 19th and 20th centuries supported eugenics Eugenics is the practice of restricting who gets to have children to improve the human species PK Welpton, a demographer, said in 1938:
“Ancestry” denotes those in the past that you are biological related to Differences in ancestry can result in genetic differences It is possible to measure genetic ancestry in various ways
Some stretches of DNA – SNPs--are relatively uncommon across the world’s populations but can be unique to some subpopulations These are called AIMs— ancestry informative markers Researchers have collected AIMS distinctive of West African, Northern European, Native American, and other populations These allow a blood sample of a current individual to be tested to determine what proportion of his or her genes might come from those populations
National Institutes of Health grant reviewers have recently rejected grant proposals for admixture studies in part because they fear reinforcing stereotypes A recent NY Times article identified racist web sites citing admixture results Racial prejudice still exists and public understanding of genetics is poor Does this justify censoring potentially important scientific findings?