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The sequencing of the human genome and the science that made that feat possible have led to some fascinating new research into genetics. Among the most intriguing projects are those that link poverty to genetic changes in children and those that strongly imply that genetic changes caused by environmental factors, as well as those that result from random mutations, can be passed from one generation to the next.

This research can be interpreted from a social justice perspective as proof that poverty, particularly child poverty, is a human rights issue. It can be used to develop interventions to help kids compensate for the effects poverty may have on their brains and bodies. It can lead to legislation that lessens the gap between the wealthy and the poor and raises everyone to an acceptable standard of living.

Or not.

As a nation that was founded and built on the premise that some people (those of Northern European extraction) are inherently and irrevocably superior to other people (pretty much everyone else), we need to be very careful about how we understand and,...