Racial Meanings and Scientific Methods: Changing Policies for NIH-Sponsored Publications Reporting Human Variation

Jacqueline Stevens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Conventional wisdom holds that race is socially constructed and not based on genetic differences. Cutting-edge genetic research threatens this view and hence also endangers the pursuit of racial equality and useful public health research. The most recent incarnation of racial genetics is not due to scientific discoveries about population differences per se, but follows from how the United States and other governments have organized racial categories. This article explains tensions in U.S. government guidelines and publications on the study of human genetic diversity, points out the absence of any compelling public health benefits that might justify this research, introduces conceptual tools for addressing the complicated heuristic and policy problems posed by medical population genetics, and offers two policy proposals to remedy the current problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1087
Number of pages55
JournalJournal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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