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Title: The Genetic Basis of Race and its Medical Implications
Authors: Robin, Joseph
Advisors: Rosenberg, Leon
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: The concept of race has been used to differentiate groups for centuries. Ideas of distinct racial differences have been used to promote discrimination, incite wars, and justify countless hateful acts over the course of human history. In modern times, researchers have documented significant disparities in heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and many other health issues across racial groups. Scientists have pointed to poverty, poor healthcare, and other socioeconomic factors as the primary contributors to racial health differences. However, recent studies have discovered genetic causes to many racial health patterns in the population. Scientists have found genetic variants associated with particular diseases and other health phenomena that are highly prevalent in certain racial groups. Furthermore, genomic analyses of the human population have shown that there is a small, but definitive biological basis to modern day racial groups. Many scholars have rejected this finding, citing studies of human variance that suggest race is a social construct of no biological merit. Others worry of the social impact of reaffirming a biological concept of race. Regardless of this debate, racial identity remains an important piece of data for doctors to consider when evaluating patients, due to the fact that clinically significant genetic variants have differing levels of prevalence among specific racial groups. Until whole genome sequencing becomes commonplace, racial identity is the best way doctors can account for these genetic factors in patients. In order to optimize healthcare, doctors must be educated on the concept of race and how it applies to medical practice.
Extent: 86 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2016

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