Changing the paradigm from 'race' to human genome variation

Nat Genet. 2004 Nov;36(11 Suppl):S5-7. doi: 10.1038/ng1454.


Knowledge from the Human Genome Project and research on human genome variation increasingly challenges the applicability of the term 'race' to human population groups, raising questions about the validity of inferences made about 'race' in the biomedical and scientific literature. Despite the acknowledged contradictions in contemporary science, population-based genetic variation is continually used to explain differences in health between 'racial' and 'ethnic' groups. In this commentary we posit that resolution of apparent paradoxes in relating biology to 'race' and genetics requires thinking 'outside of the box'.

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Racial Groups / genetics*