Human difference in the genomic era: Facilitating a socially responsible dialogue

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Background. The study of human genetic variation has been advanced by research such as genome-wide association studies, which aim to identify variants associated with common, complex diseases and traits. Significant strides have already been made in gleaning information on susceptibility, treatment, and prevention of a number of disorders. However, as genetic researchers continue to uncover underlying differences between individuals, there is growing concern that observed population-level differences will be inappropriately generalized as inherent to particular racial or ethnic groups and potentially perpetuate negative stereotypes. Discussion. We caution that imprecision of language when conveying research conclusions, compounded by the potential distortion of findings by the media, can lead to the stigmatization of racial and ethnic groups. Summary. It is essential that the scientific community and with those reporting and disseminating research findings continue to foster a socially responsible dialogue about genetic variation and human difference. © 2010 Knerr et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Knerr, S., Ramos, E., Nowinski, J., Dixon, K., & Bonham, V. L. (2010). Human difference in the genomic era: Facilitating a socially responsible dialogue. BMC Medical Genomics.

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