February 19, 2009

Papers on Race from a special issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology

This set of papers will take some time to digest. I will post any comments on them in this space.

Human DNA sequences: More variation and less race
Jeffrey C. Long, Jie Li, Meghan E. Healy

Understanding race and human variation: Why forensic anthropologists are good at identifying race
Stephen Ousley, Richard Jantz, Donna Freid

Race reconciled?: How biological anthropologists view human variation
Heather J.H. Edgar, Keith L. Hunley

How race becomes biology: Embodiment of social inequality
Clarence C. Gravlee

1918: Three perspectives on race and human variation
Rachel Caspari

Biohistorical approaches to race in the United States: Biological distances among African Americans, European Americans, and their ancestors
Heather J.H. Edgar

Estimation and evidence in forensic anthropology: Sex and race
Lyle W. Konigsberg, Bridget F.B. Algee-Hewitt, Dawnie Wolfe Steadman

The global pattern of gene identity variation reveals a history of long-range migrations, bottlenecks, and local mate exchange: Implications for biological race
Keith L. Hunley, Meghan E. Healy, Jeffrey C. Long

How Neandertals inform human variation
Milford H. Wolpoff

Race and global patterns of phenotypic variation
John H. Relethford


UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

Most of these say human race does not exist and any lines drawn to create races are arbitrary.

Imagine that. LOL

Thanks Dienekes, I posted about 5 of the abstracts on a friends site. Good stuff.

Dean said...

There is a duality about race. On one hand, humans are very much alike genetically. On the other hand, race, especially in social context, exists, and how many people were/are oppressed because of how they look?

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...


In historic times people have been oppressed for being too fat, short, wear glasses, having the wrong hair color...humans will find any difference that they feel they can make someone an "outsider" to discriminate. I think this type of xenophobic established as a result of us being group oriented is just human nature. It is learned though, but it could be that some people (possibly due to genes) are more likely to be xenophobic than others or maybe just far more group oriented and whatever group they find to be important due to how they are socialized they look for a natural "them" to have "us" in an extreme way.

Polak said...

Jeffrey C. Long et al: "The pattern of DNA diversity is one of nested subsets, such that the diversity in non-Sub-Saharan African populations is essentially a subset of the diversity found in Sub-Saharan African populations. The actual pattern of DNA diversity creates some unsettling problems for using race as meaningful genetic categories. For example, the pattern of DNA diversity implies that some populations belong to more than one race (e.g., Europeans), whereas other populations do not belong to any race at all (e.g., Sub-Saharan Africans)."

It'll happen if not enough markers are used.

Why did they use this limited sort of stuff and not at least 100K genome-wide SNPs? I've never seen a European cluster anywhere but in Europe with that analysed.

I don't want to sound silly, but this makes you wonder what they were trying to show.

Anonymous said...

Racial divisions are arbitrary and general, and always have been. Individuals within populations vary more than populations do. Some Japanese have wavy hair, others green coloured irises, some with aquiline noses and brown coloured hair. That is individual variation from the typical jet black, coarse, straight hair combined with dark brown irises, and a short broad low bridged nose. Some Thais and Cambodians look like South Asian Indians. Exceptions always exist. Five percent of true blue Scandinavians i.e no foreign admixture, cannot digest lactose. Fifteen percent of Europeans are Rhesus negative.
Saying that, the fact that people can be distinguished into the major geographic origins of their ancestors whether they are Zambos or Mestizos or plain ordinary Japanese from Osaka, by their skeletal structure, body proteins and genetics is also true.
Denying that is as stupid as doing a Michael Jackson.