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ELSI Friday Forum 2023

Population Descriptors in Genomic Research: Applying the NASEM Recommendations


This ELSI Friday Forum took place on July 14, 2023.

History demonstrates that the potential for typological thinking continues to be a hazard of genetic research involving human groups. In 2022 the NIH commissioned a NASEM study on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry as Population Descriptors in Genomics Research to determine if and when race, ethnicity, ancestry, and other population descriptors should be used and why. In this ELSI Friday Forum, NASEM committee members discussed the report’s recommendations. What are population descriptors? How can their selection entrench typological thinking and undermine scientific rigor? How can we better align the appropriate use of population descriptors with genomic research objectives?

  • Ann Morning, PhD (New York University)
  • Molly Przeworski, PhD (Columbia University)
  • Moderated by Dorothy Roberts, JD (University of Pennsylvania)


population descriptors

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