Viewpoint: Genetic research can’t fulfill its potential without greater diversity in study populations

3-9-2019 genetics diversity
Image credit: Kaiser Health News

Genetic differences exist between people of different ancestries. That means genetic studies that focus on just a handful of populations give an incomplete picture. A biological insight that emerges from a study of people of European descent may not apply to someone of East Asian descent, and vice versa.

In order for everyone to benefit from sequencing the human genome, genetic studies must be conducted in people of all ethnicities — as well as all genders, ages, incomes, and sexual orientations.

People of European descent account for less than one-quarter of the world’s population. Yet a recent study showed they make up more than three-quarters of the participants in genome-wide association studies, a common type of genetic study.

Related article:  Genes linked to schizophrenia significantly increase risk if there are pregnancy complications

Joannella Morales and colleagues showed that even though only 1.3 percent of individuals in a comprehensive set of genetic studies were Hispanic or Latin American, 4.3 percent of the total genetic discoveries were made in those groups. In contrast, the 78 percent of research participants of European descent contributed 54 percent of the genetic discoveries.

It will take many cycles of hope and frustration to get there, but nothing that is worth doing is easy, and this is well worth doing.

Read full, original post: Lack of diversity hinders genetic studies. We can change that

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend