How Slavery Changed the DNA of African Americans

Posted in Articles, Economics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2019-08-26 01:08Z by Steven

How Slavery Changed the DNA of African Americans

Pacific Standard

Michael White, Assistant Professor of Genetics
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

(Photo: John-christopher-bowers/Flickr)

Widespread sexual exploitation before the Civil War strongly influenced the genetic make-up of essentially all African Americans alive today.

Our genetic make-up is the result of history. Historical events that influenced the patterns of migration and mating among our ancestors are reflected in our DNA — in our genetic relationships with each other and in our genetic risks for disease. This means that, to understand how genes affect our biology, geneticists often find it important to tease out how historical drivers of demographic change shaped present-day genetics.

Understanding the connection between history and DNA is especially important for African Americans, because slavery and discrimination caused profound and relatively rapid demographic change. A new study now offers a very broad look at African-American genetic history and shows how the DNA of present-day African Americans reflects their troubled history…

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Mapping Race through Admixture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2010-03-08 04:02Z by Steven

Mapping Race through Admixture

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society
Volume 4, Issue 4 (2008)
pages 79-84

Catherine Bliss, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Race and Science Studies
Department of Africana Studies
Brown University

Mapping Admixture Linkage Disequilibrium (MALD) is a technology that separates genomic ancestral lineages to identify disease genes. In the U.S., where a significant segment of the population has unknown ancestral origins, researchers use MALD to tease out continental haplotypes and (re)assign ancestry to disease samples. While MALD is fast-becoming a primary medical genetic technology, its publicly known uses lie in the service fields of recreational DNA genealogy and forensic profiling. Here, private companies use MALD to tell clients where their ancestors likely came from or to advise law enforcement on what kind of racially-defined features to look for in a suspect. This paper looks at the practical assemblage of MALD applications and its effects in defining ancestry in terms of race. Through this assemblage, society produces the genome as racial and race as genetic. Moreover, identity is refashioned through a genomic knowledge of self.

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