Human geneticists curb use of the term ‘race’ in their papers

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Social Science on 2021-12-13 02:31Z by Steven

Human geneticists curb use of the term ‘race’ in their papers


Rodrigo Pérez Ortega

Geneticists are working to remove harmful racial categories from their descriptions of human populations. DAVIDE BONAZZI/@SALZMANART

Field still struggles with how to accurately describe populations, study finds

Human geneticists have mostly abandoned the word “race” when describing populations in their papers, according to a new study of research published in a leading genetics journal. That’s in line with the current scientific understanding that race is a social construct, and a welcome departure from research that in the past has often conflated genetic variation and racial categories, says Vence Bonham, a social scientist at the National Human Genome Research Institute who led the study.

But alternative terms that have gained popularity, such as “ancestry” and “ethnicity,” can have ambiguous meanings or aren’t defined by genetics, suggesting researchers are still struggling to find the words to accurately describe groups delineated by their DNA, according to the study.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, many geneticists embraced the idea that there were races, such as “Negroid” or “Caucasian,” that were distinct biological groups; such “race science” helped perpetuate discrimination and inequality. (Scientists have now thoroughly demonstrated the lack of a biological basis to racial categories.)…

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