What Happens When Geneticists Talk Sloppily About Race

Just as we need to be careful when talking about Darwin, we need to be careful when talking about race. Read the article: What Happens When Geneticists Talk Sloppily About Race

This article was published in The Atlantic. It was written by Ian Holmes, an associate professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley

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It is interesting that 23 and Me is raking in the dough by telling people how they are genetically different from other people, and that isn’t considered problematic to anyone (as far as I can see).

As the article states, we need to be clear that “race” and “ancestry” are not necessarily the same thing. Race is a social construct that all too often groups people by an arbitrarily chosen set of features, such as skin color. There is also an undercurrent within race designations that a person’s worth is tied to their genetics.

The way I have always approached this topic is to talk about other alleles that people are familiar with, such as blood type. Would we ever think of grouping people into races based on blood type? It sounds silly, but isn’t it just as silly to group people by their MCR1 allele which influences skin color?

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