What Are Race and Sex Doing in Our Genomes? Perspectives on Human “Types”

Sunday, 15 February 2015: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 210AB (San Jose Convention Center)
As scientists dive into genomic data, they are not only shining new light on the complex interactions of human genes but are also reviving profound questions about humanity itself. Is “race” a useful biological concept? How different are men and women at the molecular level? This symposium examines the interface between science and society in the area of genomics, race, and sex. Speakers will explore the reemergence of social ideas about race and gender through human variation research and the ethical questions for science, education, and the media that result. Medical research articles routinely speculate about racial differences in disease susceptibility. News stories create the impression that human populations evolved separately and developed distinct “racial” traits. Epigenetics research points to the female body as a site of risk and potential that will be programmed into generations to come. How do contemporary ideologies underpin scientific research questions, data collection, and the interpretation of results? The responsibilities shared by scientists and science communicators to attend to the social context of research, both within the lab and outside, will be discussed.
Sally Lehrman, University of California
Sally Lehrman, University of California
David Haussler, University of California
Rasmus Nielsen, University of California
Genomics and the Biological Concept of Race
Catherine Bliss, University of California, San Francisco
Race-Positive Science: Ethical and Social Implications of Genomics
Sarah S. Richardson, Harvard University
Maternal Bodies and the Explanatory Landscape of Epigenetics
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