Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture

Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture

Columbia University Press
September 2011
304 pages
1 illus; 4 tables
Paper ISBN: 978-0-231-15697-4
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-231-15696-7

Edited by:

Sheldon Krimsky, Professor of Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning; Adjunct Professor of Public Health and Family Medicine
Tufts School of Medicine
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

Kathleen Sloan

Do advances in genomic biology create a scientific rationale for long-discredited racial categories? Leading scholars in law, medicine, biology, sociology, history, anthropology, and psychology examine the impact of modern genetics on the concept of race. Contributors trace the interplay between genetics and race in forensic DNA databanks, the biology of intelligence, DNA ancestry markers, and racialized medicine. Each essay explores commonly held and unexamined assumptions and misperceptions about race in science and popular culture.

This collection begins with the historical origins and current uses of the concept of “race” in science. It follows with an analysis of the role of race in DNA databanks and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Essays then consider the rise of recreational genetics in the form of for-profit testing of genetic ancestry and the introduction of racialized medicine, specifically through an FDA-approved heart drug called BiDil, marketed to African American men. Concluding sections discuss the contradictions between our scientific and cultural understandings of race and the continuing significance of race in educational and criminal justice policy.

Table of Contents

  • A short history of the race concept / Michael Yudell
  • Natural selection, the human genome, and the idea of race / Robert Pollack
  • Racial disparities in databanking of DNA profiles / Michael T. Risher
  • Prejudice, stigma, and DNA databases / Helen Wallace
  • Ancestry testing and DNA : uses, limits, and caveat emptor / Troy Duster
  • Can DNA witness race? Forensic uses of an imperfect ancestry testing technology / Duana Fullwiley
  • BiDil and racialized medicine / Jonathan Kahn
  • Evolutionary versus racial medicine : why it matters? / Joseph L. Graves Jr.
  • Myth and mystification : the science of race and IQ / Pilar N. Ossorio
  • Intelligence, race, and genetics / Robert J. Sternberg … [et al.]
  • The elusive variability of race / Patricia J. Williams
  • Race, genetics, and the regulatory need for race impact assessments / Osagie K. Obasogie.
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