The Race Debate: Genetically Useful or Inherently Insignificant?

In: Science

Submitted By amas4416
Words 1354
Pages 6
Throughout history, human races have become statistically more insignificant as time has elapsed. Through migration, genetic drift, random mutation, interbreeding, clustering, and natural selection, genetic variation has greatly increased, leaving behind the ‘set in stone’ categories of race that were once crucial in science. It is detrimental to not only individuals but also groups of people to base our medical research and genetic testing solely on race alone. Ancestry has proven to be a much greater marker for determining if individuals carry genes that code for certain genetic diseases. Where and who we descend from determines what genes we may carry, not simply which ‘race’ or social construction we belong to.
The realization that the term ‘race’ is no longer genetically relevant or able to describe the immensity of differences between each and every individual comes from new discoveries in “human genome sequence variation research and molecular anthropological research” (Rosenberg, 2002). Many now understand that ‘race’ is not the correct term, but there is still debate over what framework to use that adequately reflects the new criteria of these recent findings (Royal & Dunston, 2004). This new research in genetic variation has made it near impossible to still believe that race is a genetically relevant way to classify human beings. Our background regarding the variation of our genetic makeup is essentially a melting pot. As ancestors carry on genes and incoming members of the population introduce new ones, our history continues to change. It is said that, “ the process of using genetics to define ‘race’ is like slicing soup, you can cut wherever you want, but the soup stays mixed (Anonymous, 2002).” In other words, there can be no clear cut boundaries such as those provided by the concept of ‘race.’ Every individual is a unique mix of their…...

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