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{bio,medical} informatics

Friday, November 01, 2002

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find related articles. powered by google. Financial Times Wires cross over genes

"In response to early concerns about racial profiling, scientists at the Human Genome Project went out of their way to downplay ethnic variations. Humans are 99.9 per cent alike, the sequencing showed, a figure that was leveraged into a call for global harmony. "The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis," said Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, at the White House ceremony to celebrate the genome completion.

Yet a great deal of controversy is now brewing over that 0.1 per cent. A growing number of scientists want to use such information as a way to find cures for devastating diseases. If we know more about the genes that cause susceptibility to cystic fibrosis in whites, or sickle cell anaemia in blacks, they argue, we will move closer to a solution for these illnesses. "Ancestry is imperative to biomedical research," says Mark Shriver, an anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University."

redux [10.30.01]
find related articles. powered by google. Nature: Science Update Race is a poor prescription

"Race should not influence drug prescriptions, warn geneticists. Genetic differences between individuals give a better indication of who will respond well to a medicine, a new study shows."

Geneticists have known this for a while. "It's no surprise that skin pigment is a lousy predictor of physiology," says Howard McLeod of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri. This study is the first to prove it."

redux [07.20.01]
find related articles. powered by google. The New York Times Genome Mappers Navigate the Tricky Terrain of Race
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"Scientists planning the next phase of the human genome project are being forced to confront a treacherous issue: the genetic differences between human races."

"With the decoding of the human genome largely complete, government scientists are beginning to construct a special kind of genetic map that would provide a shortcut to locating the variant human genes that predispose people to common diseases."

"The question the scientists face is whether that map should chart possible differences that may emerge among the principal population groups, those of Africans, Asians and Europeans."

redux [03.18.01]
find related articles. powered by google. The Atlantic Online The Genetic Archaeology of Race

"Genetics research is demonstrating that the differences in appearance among groups are profoundly incidental, but these differences do have a genetic basis. And although it's true that all people have inherited the same genetic legacy, the genetic differences among groups have important implications for our understanding of history and for biomedical research. These complications in an otherwise reassuring story have thoroughly spooked the leaders of the public and private genome efforts. The NIH has been collecting information about genetic variants from different ethnic groups in the United States, but it has refused to link specific variants with ethnicity. Celera has been sequencing DNA from an Asian, a Hispanic, a Caucasian, and an African-American, but it, too, declines to say which DNA is which.

This strategy of avoiding the issue is almost sure to backfire. It seems to imply that geneticists have something to hide. But the message emerging from laboratories around the world should be hailed, not muzzled. It is one of great hope and promise for our species."

redux [06.11.01]
find related articles. powered by google. The New York Times Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA Shows
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"Scientists have long suspected that the racial categories recognized by society are not reflected on the genetic level.

But the more closely that researchers examine the human genome -- the complement of genetic material encased in the heart of almost every cell of the body -- the more most of them are convinced that the standard labels used to distinguish people by "race" have little or no biological meaning.""

""Ethnicity is a broad concept that encompasses both genetics and culture," Dr. Anand said. "Thinking about ethnicity is a way to bring together questions of a person's biology, lifestyle, diet, rather than just focusing on race. Ethnicity is about phenotype and genotype, and, if you define the terms of your study, it allows you to look at differences between groups in a valid way."

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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