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Race, Genetic Ancestry, and Health

Abstract

Knowledge from human genetic research continuously challenges the notion that race and biology are inextricably linked, with implications across biomedical and public health disciplines. However, biomedical research continues to explore health and disease under a racial framework ignoring and at times confounding the identification of true biological and/or environmental risk factors. Within this article, we present a brief overview of the use of race in biomedical research and studies of human genome variation and how genetic ancestry may help us understand health disparities. We believe that the casual use of “race” to define groups in biomedical research has contributed to our limited understanding of complex disease etiology and risk factors driving health disparities.

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Correspondence to Rick A. Kittles.

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Batai, K., Kittles, R.A. Race, Genetic Ancestry, and Health. Race Soc Probl 5, 81–87 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-013-9094-x

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Keywords

  • Race
  • Genetics
  • AIMS
  • Population structure
  • Genetic ancestry
  • Genetic variation
  • Admixture
  • Health disparities
  • Gene–environment interactions