Next generation disparities in human genomics: concerns and remedies

Trends Genet. 2009 Nov;25(11):489-94. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2009.09.012.


Studies of human genetics, particularly genome-wide association studies (GWAS), have concentrated heavily on European populations, with individuals of African ancestry rarely represented. Reasons for this include the distribution of biomedical funding and the increased population structure and reduced linkage disequilibrium in African populations. Currently, few GWAS findings have clinical utility and, therefore, the field has not yet contributed to health-care disparities. As human genomics research progresses towards the whole-genome sequencing era, however, more clinically relevant results are likely to be discovered. As we discuss here, to avoid the genetics community contributing to healthcare disparities, it is important to adopt measures to ensure that populations of diverse ancestry are included in genomic studies, and that no major population groups are excluded.

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Genomics*
  • Humans