computer program can sort people into racial groups by analyzing genetic material and these groups have near perfect overlap with the social meaning of race.
For each person in the study, the researchers examined 326 DNA regions that tend to vary between people. These regions are not necessarily within genes, but are simply genetic signposts on chromosomes that come in a variety of different forms at the same location.
Without knowing how the participants had identified themselves, Risch and his team ran the results through a computer program that grouped individuals according to patterns of the 326 signposts. This analysis could have resulted in any number of different clusters, but only four clear groups turned up. And in each case the individuals within those clusters all fell within the same self-identified racial group.
"This shows that people's self-identified race/ethnicity is a nearly perfect indicator of their genetic background," Risch said.
If I were to say that this is the same color as this, some people might try to "correct" me, but the truth is that, for me, they are the same color.
If all humans perceived color as I perceive color, we'd have a totally different naming system.
Last edited by Tucker Case; 09-15-11 at 12:34 PM.
Spotlight on Diabetes Disparities
November is American Diabetes Month. More than 20 million people have diabetes in the United States, and pre-diabetes is far more common than previously believed. About 40 percent of U.S. adults ages 40 to 74, or 41 million people, currently have pre-diabetes. Racial and ethnic minority groups, especially the elderly among these populations, are disproportionately affected by diabetes. On average, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and American Indian/Alaska Natives are more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. African Americans are also more likely to suffer complications from diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
Can genetic information be used to distinguish human groups having a common heritage and to assign individuals to particular ones? Do such groups correspond well to predefined descriptions now widely used to specify race? And, more practically, does dividing people by familiar racial definitions or by genetic similarities say anything useful about how members of those groups experience disease or respond to drug treatment?
In general, we would answer the first question yes, the second no, and offer a qualified yes to the third. Our answers rest on several generalizations about race and genetics. Some groups do differ genetically from others, but how groups are divided depends on which genes are examined; simplistically put, you might fit into one group based on your skin-color genes but another based on a different characteristic. Many studies have demonstrated that roughly 90 percent of human genetic variation occurs within a population living on a given continent, whereas about 10 percent of the variation distinguishes continental populations. In other words, individuals from different populations are, on average, just slightly more different from one another than are individuals from the same population. Human populations are very similar, but they often can be distinguished.
Scientific American: Does Race Exist?
"It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to." - W. C. Fields