Not exactly, no

Largest ever study of African genome will help fight racial bias in medical data, say experts

What we’re actually trying to do is get more racial bias into our medical data.

We know that genes vary across human groupings. We know that disease incidence varies across human groupings. We’d like more information about how the one affects the other. We want to have more racial bias to our research ,not less.

15 thoughts on “Not exactly, no”

  1. But the concept ‘race’ is really a cultural construct loosely base don 19th century ideas that predate a knowledge of genes. What we really need is a better science based idea of divergence among populations .
    That way we capture the benefits without encouraging the racists
    Why is this so difficult?

  2. It’s not difficult. Find the truth and let the chips fall where they may. It is not a secret that different races tend to have different characteristics. That says nothing about an individual but something about a population. Is that statement controversial?

  3. We want to have more racial bias to our research ,not less.

    That’s a misrepresentation of the article which seems to be saying that medical data is skewed towards white people because studies so far have been conducted in predominantly white countries so that certain diseases more prevalent elsewhere are not properly reflected in the data.

  4. The whole fuss is because some twit has attributed malice to the inevitable difference in the numbers of datapoints relating to those of European and non-European descent when taking a random sample in Europe or North America. That is an *absence of bias*. Shout that out.
    The Ugandan genome project is highly valuable, increasing knowledge and potentially enabling major improvements in diagnosis and treatment (e.g. the “false positives” for diabetes mentioned).
    It should be pointed out that “we” are not imposing medicines designed for “western” men on Africa: any treatments following diagnosis are chosen by local doctors in Africa, not in England.

  5. @Newmania “But the concept ‘race’ is really a cultural construct loosely base don 19th century ideas that predate a knowledge of genes.”

    Certainly there were those in the 19th century who set out to ‘prove’ the natural superiority of some people over others but the idea that people in earlier times didn’t think their ‘tribe’ was better than others for one reason or another is patently absurd.

    The Greeks thought the Persians were a bunch of poofs. The Romans thought the same of the Greeks.There are plenty of examples of stereotypical imagery of other peoples in the classical world. If one group of people back then thought another group was naturally and irredeemably inferior how is that different from modern ‘racism’?

    You’re too hung up on the trope that “racism is when white people hate black people” and that is the be all and end all of racism.

  6. I’d always understood that one of the triggers for the Boko Haram revolt was the testing of a drug in Kano. So if Africans don’t want to step forward and have the evil white scientists use them as guinea pigs, the drugs aren’t going to be as well-adapted to them as they might wish.

  7. You’re too hung up on the trope that “racism is when white people hate black people” and that is the be all and end all of racism.

    I am not . A few years back I went to a meeting in which the supposed racism of our own area was the subject. I went armed with surveys showing that the least racist ethnic group in the UK were the ” white British” who attitudes to other groups was way less discriminatory than, for example , British Jews of Muslims to British blacks . I was quoting for Nick Cohen`s ” Whats left” .
    I have also often thought that history of the slave trade within the continent of Africa needs wider and better scholarship –
    The suggestion that the industrial success of the UK was built on the cash crop of slaves is rather undermined by the absence of any such development in Africa…..
    In any case in much black / white discussion of race there is a wiff of the innocent and good native unspoiled, you might say , a Western romantic idea that is itself a damaging divisive fairy tale .
    That being said there is a unreasonable bigotry alive and well in the UK and it is used on a daily basis by those wishing to spread a sort of ethnic panic for their own unlovely ends

  8. @ Newmania “I am not”

    Glad to hear it.

    Hard to believe it. A ‘few years’ ago you went to a meeting. Seemingly every day on here you are accusing all and sundry of racism for daring to suggest there might be a better way of managing immigration and refusing to believe that wanting to leave the EU doesn’t make you Neo-Nazi.

  9. “A few years back I went to a meeting in which the supposed racism of our own area was the subject.”

    Why? Did it improve productivity or something?

  10. In hospital I was asked to take part in a medical study. I answered the questions as the nurse read them out. Then she reached race/ethnicity. I replied that I wouldn’t take part in a study run on Nazi lines. Or maybe I said Apartheid lines. I don’t think I said that race was just a social construct.

    In other words I thought I couldn’t trust the NHS to ask the race question only when it might be relevant. God knows what purpose such facts might be put to. Who, for example, would think it wise to answer “Jewish” in the age of Momentum?

  11. Not even going into the “race” thing.. As a scientific description it’s about as accurate as a baseball thrown by a blindfolded sufferer of cerebral palsy with a blood alcohol promillage approaching “russian”…

    Genotyping the african continent, however, is *crucial* for our understanding of the human genome. As opposed to the European and Asian populations the african genetic population has *not* been through the *very* narrow funnel of the Out of Africa move, and they’ve not humped our cousins who had that same bright idea earlier in history ( so far, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and a possible third..)
    In other words, true african human DNA is more “pure” *and* has had the time to evolve against the environment without “contamination” ( that we know of (yet) ).
    Genetically, the true human “baseline” is somewhere in Africa. And we need to find it if we ever are going to make sense of what all the little adaptations elsewhere actually *do*,

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