sábado, 13 de febrero de 2016

Should we get rid of race from genetics? Genetics - racism - taxonomies - human genome

Should we get rid of race from genetics? Genetics - racism - taxonomies - human genome

Should we get rid of race in genetics?

Racial categories have long been used in genetics to aid research on health and development. Yet recently academics have been discouraging the use of such taxonomies, arguing that they are pragmatically unhelpful and, at times, morally objectionable.

One of the strongest statements yet came in an article published in Science last week, entitled ‘Taking race out of human genetics’. Michael Yudell of Drexel University and three of his colleagues sounded alarm bells about the continuing (and, on some measures, increasing) use of racial categories in genetic research:

“We believe the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research—so disputed and so mired in confusion—is problematic at best and harmful at worst. It is time for biologists to find a better way.”

According to the authors, “there have been no systematic attempts to address [race-related issues in research] and the situation has worsened with the rise of large-scale genetic surveys that use race as a tool to stratify these data.”

They called on the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to convene a panel of experts “ to recommend ways for research into human biological diversity to move past the use of race as a tool for classification in both laboratory and clinical research”.

In an interview with NPR, Sarah Tishkoff and Dorothy Roberts – academics from the University of Pennsylvania Penn and co-authors of the article – discussed the issues posed by continuing use of racial categories.

According to Roberts, a sociologist, “[race] leads researchers down the wrong path and leads to harmful results for patients. For example, black patients who have the symptoms of cystic fibrosis aren't diagnosed because doctors see it as a white disease.”

Roberts also believes there are historical reasons for abandoning racial categories:

“There is a long history of justifying the subordination of different groups and social groupings based on myths about their biologic or genetic predispositions. It's not only that there's scientific evidence that humans aren't divided into discrete biological categories we'd call races. But there's also evidence of the harm these biological meanings of race have caused for centuries.”
- See more at: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/should-we-get-rid-of-race-in-genetics/11752#sthash.oe6JqK83.dpuf


Oh no; not again. Sorry: about half of our articles this week are about euthanasia, most of them about the Netherlands. I know that there are other issues, but this time I shall blame the news cycle. NVVE, the leading Dutch right-to-die group, is celebrating 15 years of Dutch euthanasia this week.
Depending on your point of view, the festivities are either premature or long overdue. The law legalising euthanasia in the Netherlands came into effect on April 1, 2002, which means that NVVE is actually celebrating the beginning of the 15th year.
On the other hand, euthanasia was effectively legal in the Netherlands for decades before that. A 1991 government study, the Remmelink Report, found that in 1990 there had been 2,300 cases of voluntary euthanasia, 400 cases of assisted suicide, and 1,040 cases of involuntary euthanasia. That was 25 years ago, so perhaps that is a better baseline for the celebration. 
Legalisation clearly has drawbacks, though. The number of cases of illegal, involuntary euthanasia is no longer included in official government statistics. O for the candour of the Remmelink Report! 

Michael Cook

This week in BioEdge

by Xavier Symons | Feb 14, 2016
A new study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has presented an alarming picture of physician evaluation of euthanasia requests in the Netherlands.

by Michael Cook | Feb 13, 2016
"Complete life" is not sufficient reason, says the Schnabel report

by Michael Cook | Feb 13, 2016
Youth outreach is an important part of the program

by Xavier Symons | Feb 13, 2016
Canada's High Court has authorised provincial courts to arbitrate on requests for euthanasia.

by Xavier Symons | Feb 13, 2016
An Australian consumer watchdog is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into the country’s IVF clinics.

by Xavier Symons | Feb 13, 2016
Racial categories have long been used in genetics, though recently academics have been discouraging their use.

by Michael Cook | Feb 13, 2016
Parents love their daughters and think that FGM is good for them, like British parents who sent kids to boarding schools.

by Michael Cook | Feb 13, 2016
No one had ever asked her about it before.

by Michael Cook | Feb 13, 2016
Some reports suggest that the situation is far more complex than reports in the media suggest.

by Michael Cook | Feb 12, 2016
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