Race, Genetics, and Genetics Education
The completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 opened up the floodgates of genetic data, ushering in rapid technological and scientific change. Today, the decreasing costs of genome sequencing are changing our understandings of human identity, especially racial identity. Yet, the influence of genetic science on conceptions of racial identity is not new. For over 100 years, genetic concepts have been deeply entwined with myths about inherent racial inferiority. Today, the science of genetics continues to be used in arguments to maintain or mitigate against structures that perpetuate racial oppression. Such arguments are based in the beliefs that people hold about the relationship between race and genetics. The content of those beliefs are influenced by many factors, such as the ‘geneticization’ of race within the academy, the growing popularity of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and the prevalence of determinstic ideas about genes in American culture. Genetics education may also play a role in American racial thinking.
A growing body of research indicates that formal and informal genetics education can influence how people conceptualize the relationship between…
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