Tuesday, July 30, 2002

When the human genome project was declared completed, the various leaders very carefully disassociated themselves of any racial implications. They persuaded the New England Journal of Medicine that "`race' is biologically meaningless". Everyone accepted the notion that DNA analysis had proven that the human races were essentially identical. Craig Venter wrote that “it is disturbing to see reputable scientists and physicians even categorizing things in terms of race." Stephen Jay Gould also liked to say publicly that “humans are 99.9% the same” and “race is biologically meaningless”.

Now a Stanford geneticist finally points out that such political correctness could impede disease research, because there is enough racial variation in disease response for the classification to be useful in studies. Apparently race can be objectively determined by looking at 100 randomly chosen DNA sites. These facts are well known, but public discussion is avoided.

The NEJM response is especially lame. An editor would only say that it is "a serious piece of work and merits a lot of thought." He must be thinking, "I thought we had all the reputable scientists on board. We decided that it is better to be wrong than to look racist. Why is he blowing it for us?" The emperor has no clothes.

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