Biological or Social: <i>Allelic Variation and the Making of Race in Single Nucleotide Polymorphism-Based Research</i>

Michael J. Montoya

in Making the Mexican Diabetic

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267305
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949003 | DOI:
Biological or Social: Allelic Variation and the Making of Race in Single Nucleotide Polymorphism-Based Research

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This chapter argues that neither race nor ethnicity account for the ethnoracial classificatory iterations found in genetic epidemiological research. It problematizes the simplistic race/no-race binary and highlights the political and social consequences of the summary dismissal of population-based medical genetics research. The admixture narrative presented demonstrates that the racial discourse of the Chicago lab draws upon population genetics, biological anthropology, evolution, statistics, human genetics, and physiology. Diabetes researchers found a model of susceptibility that consists of heterozygosity for two different patterns of genetic code. The positional cloning technique described deploys single nucleotide polymorphisms as candidate genetic material for disease susceptibility. An examination of the arguments in the no-race debate reveals the complexity of racial discourse in and out of the diabetes enterprise. The critiques of race in science on the grounds that it rebiologizes race imputes a power to “science” it does not have.

Keywords: race; ethnicity; single nucleotide polymorphisms; no-race debate; medical genetics; racial discourse; diabetes; heterozygosity

Chapter.  11029 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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