Genetics Toolkit: Preventing Misuse of Genetic Science
The misuse and distortion of genetic science by white supremacists during the 20th century made genetic essentialism, the belief that genes can accurately predict complex behaviors and traits, a foundation of Western thinking. Today, essentialist assumptions remain embedded in US laws, policies, and cultural artifacts. To grow up in America is to be surrounded by many implicit and explicit messages that suggest genetic essentialism is ontologically accurate and to hear very few messages suggesting otherwise.
Geneticists, especially those who study complex social behaviors, have a duty to make sure that their work is communicated clearly and carefully. They must anticipate the potential misuse of their work for nefarious purposes, such as white supremacism. Genetic scientists have a responsibility to explain, provide context for, and clarify their findings for public audiences.
Those geneticists who wish to engage in public outreach will quickly find themselves combatting a mountain of essentialism. To effectively push back against this type of scientifically incorrect thinking, it is necessary to have the correct tools at one’s disposal. This collection aims to…
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About ELSIhub Collections
ELSIhub Collections are essential reading lists on fundamental or emerging topics in ELSI, curated and explained by expert Collection Editors, often paired with ELSI trainees. This series assembles materials from cross-disciplinary literatures to enable quick access to key information.