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:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 Perimeter ... Platforms, Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... market will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... DVTEL Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is ... partnership with VoicePass. By working together, ... experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different ... engines increases both security and usability. ... excitement about this new partnership. "This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016   Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading ... was today awarded as one of the World ... world,s most innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering ... real world in the nutrition, health and consumer ... with customers including Fortune 500 companies to design ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche ... with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article ... Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: