Human Molecular Genetics and the Subject of Race: Contrasting Theory and Rhetoric with Practical Applications in Law and Medicine

Prof. Troy Duster, PhD

University of California, Berkeley and New York University

Thursday, March 14, 2002 - 1:15pm to 2:15pm

William G. Shepard Room, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

Scientists across a range of disciplines have declared that the concept of race is of no utility. However, purging science, medicine, and clinical genetics of this deeply embedded idea will be clearly difficult. Recent developments in medicine and law show the continuing power of the concept of race. In medicine, the new field of pharmacogenomics is attempting to use DNA profiles based in part on ethnicity and race to guide the development and delivery of drugs. In law, forensic science is moving ahead to use genetic markers to determine whether a criminal suspect is from a particular ethnic or racial group. This presentation examined the social and political implications of these developments and the conflict over race. 

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March 14, 2002