Navigation Links
Could genetic research awaken racist attitudes?

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
University of Alberta

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:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce that ... Association (MHTA) as one of only three finalists for ... – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor ... shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 Daon, a global leader in ... released a new version of its IdentityX Platform ... North America have already installed IdentityX v4.0 ... a FIDO UAF certified server component as ... activate FIDO features. These customers include some of the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar , MD, describes ... wellness, and the business opportunities that arise from it ... Healthy Things . Long before health and wellness ... vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, was creating a ... the hospital or doctor,s office into the day-to-day lives ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX ... fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th Annual ... The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, at ... A replay will be available for 14 days after ... Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , BrewLife(858) ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... featured on AngelList early in their initial angel funding process. Now, they are ... individuals looking to make early stage investments in the microbiome space. In ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. ... Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished ... , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York on ... Dr. Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. ... communication and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology: