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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.



Review of Blame: A Novelby Abby Lippman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 28th, 2016Blame is especially important for those unfamiliar with the range of ethical, social, legal, and political issues raised by applications of what is learned in a lab. While a work of fiction, it is definitely not science-fiction
Why the Deaf Community Fears President Trumpby Sara NovicVICENovember 18th, 2016According to his biographer, Trump subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development and the superiority of certain genes ó an echo of eugenics.
Iím a disabled American. Trumpís policies will be a disaster for people like me.by Ari Ne'emanVoxNovember 9th, 2016The anticipated loss of support infrastructure that is essential to living with a disability may lead to greater solidarity from other progressive groups.
Why We Need to Rethink Ethnicity-Based Genetic Testingby Shivani NazarethUS News & World ReportNovember 7th, 2016The problem with genetic tests that assume people exist in neat race and ethnicity categories is that it simply is not an accurate reflection of their ancestry.
Sorry, that DNA test doesn't make you indigenousby The 180 with Jim BrownCBC RadioNovember 6th, 2016Belonging to a particular community can mean sharing beliefs, cultural practice, even official citizenship. But it's not decided by genetic material.
Americaís ambivalence about race is seeping into scienceby Taunya EnglishThe Pulse, NewsworksNovember 4th, 2016"Race has been used to oppress people, ... to kill people. Does science really want to be using a concept that is so historically loaded?"
Cambodia bans booming commercial surrogacy industryby AFPChannel News AsiaNovember 3rd, 2016A government edict makes Cambodia the latest country to ban commercial surrogacy after prohibitions in other parts of the globe sparked a local boom in business.
Genetics startup Genos wants to pay you for your DNA databy Sarah BuhrTech CrunchNovember 1st, 2016Company plans to pay participants for full genome sequencing, starting with exomes, to create a disease variant map.
The shifting landscape in biosocial scienceby Brett MilanoHarvard GazetteNovember 1st, 2016Dorothy Roberts' two-part Tanner Lectures examine how a profound shift in biosocial science is affecting race and social inequality.
Colin Kaepernickís 'I Know My Rights Camp' cements his status as a cultural superhero in the black communityby Shaun KingNew York Daily News October 29th, 2016NFL player Colin Kaepernick distributed DNA ancestry tests at a "Know My Rights" youth camp in Oakland, citing their reconciliation value.
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