Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 36 (11 Suppl), S21-7

Implications of Biogeography of Human Populations for 'Race' and Medicine

Affiliations
Review

Implications of Biogeography of Human Populations for 'Race' and Medicine

Sarah A Tishkoff et al. Nat Genet.

Abstract

In this review, we focus on the biogeographical distribution of genetic variation and address whether or not populations cluster according to the popular concept of 'race'. We show that racial classifications are inadequate descriptors of the distribution of genetic variation in our species. Although populations do cluster by broad geographic regions, which generally correspond to socially recognized races, the distribution of genetic variation is quasicontinuous in clinal patterns related to geography. The broad global pattern reflects the accumulation of genetic drift associated with a recent African origin of modern humans, followed by expansion out of Africa and across the rest of the globe. Because disease genes may be geographically restricted due to mutation, genetic drift, migration and natural selection, knowledge of individual ancestry will be important for biomedical studies. Identifiers based on race will often be insufficient.

Similar articles

  • Genetic Variation, Classification and 'Race'
    LB Jorde et al. Nat Genet 36 (11 Suppl), S28-33. PMID 15508000.
    New genetic data has enabled scientists to re-examine the relationship between human genetic variation and 'race'. We review the results of genetic analyses that show tha …
  • Race and Global Patterns of Phenotypic Variation
    JH Relethford. Am J Phys Anthropol 139 (1), 16-22. PMID 19226639.
    Phenotypic traits have been used for centuries for the purpose of racial classification. Developments in quantitative population genetics have allowed global comparison o …
  • [Genetics and the Origin of Human Races]
    EIa Tetushkin. Genetika 37 (8), 1029-45. PMID 11642102. - Review
    In the last decades, the concept of human races was considered scientifically unfounded as it was not confirmed by genetic evidence. None of the racial classifications, w …
  • Contrasting Patterns of Natural Variation in Global Drosophila Melanogaster Populations
    MD Nunes et al. Mol Ecol 17 (20), 4470-9. PMID 18986493.
    Despite the popularity of Drosophila melanogaster in functional and evolutionary genetics, the global pattern of natural variation has not yet been comprehensively descri …
  • Haplotype Trees and Modern Human Origins
    AR Templeton. Am J Phys Anthropol Suppl 41, 33-59. PMID 16369961. - Review
    A haplotype is a multisite haploid genotype at two or more polymorphic sites on the same chromosome in a defined DNA region. An evolutionary tree of the haplotypes can be …
See all similar articles

Cited by 107 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback