Navigation Links
Could genetic research awaken racist attitudes?
Date:11/17/2008

People are different, both physically and mentally, but genetically everyone is very similar. That's been the thought of scientists for decades now. But with population research becoming more and more common, the University of Alberta's Tim Caulfield is concerned that genetic research could awaken racist attitudes.

Just last year Nobel Prize winning geneticist James Watson claimed there are genes responsible for creating differences in human intelligence. These comments made international headlines and Watson later apologized.

Caulfield knows that studying racial groups is important. For example, if a researcher is studying health disparities in the United States, they want to know why African Americans have poorer outcomes than those of European descent.

"In that case you're not saying that there's a biological difference because you're incorporating social and economic factors to that definition," said Caulfield. But it's cases where studies look to identify a gene in a population group where things can get complicated.

For those research projects, Caulfield brought together an interdisciplinary group to discuss the concerns of the scientific community and come up with ways to avoid it. This group included professionals in anthropology, bioethics, clinical medicine and law among a number of others.

"It was a very interesting group of individuals that haven't always agreed in the past," said Caulfield.

They managed to come together and agree on this topic, though, detailing a number of steps to ensure biomedical research doesn't stir up racism:

  • Researchers must title the groups properly. For example, references cannot be simplified to "black people" if the researcher is speaking of those who live in Western Africa.
  • Scientists must justify in the study why they're studying that certain group.
  • When a discovery is made, researchers are to ensure the evidence is defined properly in the hardcopy of the study and to the media.

"We're continuing to study the issue in how race is represented," said Caulfield, whose study will be in the January edition of Genome Medicine.

In addition to their findings, Caulfied's group will continue to track the ways published studies reference ethnic groups. "We're trying to trace how [race-based studies] are described in various stages."

Caulfield and his group of 20 are hoping that policy makers will take a look at their ideas, but more importantly he wants his paper to stand on its own because, if scientists have reviewed the group's findings and summarized it appropriately, Caulfield knows he and his colleagues are on the right track.

"We want researchers and other people to reference it when they're doing their study."


'/>"/>

Contact: Quinn Phillips
quinn.phillips@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Protecting neurons could halt Alzheimers, Parkinsons diseases
2. NC State finds new nanomaterial could be breakthrough for implantable medical devices
3. Could vitamin D save us from radiation?
4. Mitochondria could be a target for therapeutic strategy for Alzheimers disease patients
5. New hybrid plants could prompt more prodigious pepper production in Southwest
6. Sibling study could lead to better treatments for inherited form of colon cancer
7. Could Dr. House be replaced by a computer?
8. Sensitive laser instrument could aid search for life on Mars
9. Herbicide-resistant grape could revitalize Midwest wine industry
10. Researchers design artificial cells that could power medical implants
11. Discovery of natural compounds that could slow blood vessel growth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... , February 4, 2016 --> ... to SEK 1,351.5 M (105.0), up 1,187% compared with fourth quarter of ... amounted to SEK 517.6 M (loss: 30.0). Earnings per share ... activities was SEK 537.4 M (neg: 74.7). , ... , Revenues amounted to SEK 2,900.5 M (233.6), up 1,142% compared with ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... analysis of the bioinformatic market by reviewing the ... computer enabled tools that drive the field forward. ... report to: Identify the challenges and opportunities ... service providers and software solution developers, as well ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... BURNABY, Canada , February 1, 2016 ... new technological advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture ...   --> Rising sales of consumer electronics ... intuitive gesture control market size ... of consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... DIEGO , Feb. 5, 2016 On ... region,s trusted information source for community, health and disaster ... Diego) will integrate to enhance care coordination and ... to the services they need and to better connect ... improve care.   San Diego ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... - New FDA action date of July ... action date of July 22, 2016   --> ... 22, 2016   - Lifitegrast has the ... for the treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease ... to be the only product approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... SHENZHEN, China , Feb. 4, 2016 ... government, and various medical institutions attended a ceremony in ... provide integrative, personalized cell therapy in 2016. ... the "Shenzhen Clinical Translation Platform for Personalized Cell Therapy" ... Shenzhen Regional Cell Production Center, both subsidiaries of Beike ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016 ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies, announced today ... Conference 2016, to be held February 8-9, 2016, at ... 2016 Disruptive Growth & Healthcare Conference, taking place in ... 2016. James Sapirstein , Chief Executive Officer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: