Meeting February 8, 2017

Genetics and Society in the News:

  • Ancestry.com genomes through analysis of genomic regions (identity-by-descent) and genealogical records identify clusters of relatedness in the US. Han, E., Carbonetto, P., Curtis, R. E., Wang, Y., Granka, J. M., Byrnes, J., . . . Ball, C. A. (2017). Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America. Nature Communications,8, 14238. doi:10.1038/ncomms14238
  • Hirschhorn (also interviewed on NPR) on rare variants for the complex trait height.  Part of the GIANT study.  Some variants can influence height by 2cm.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170201131513.htm

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/01/512859830/which-genes-make-you-taller-a-whole-lot-it-turns-out

  • Council for Responsible Genetics GeneWatch (online only) has an issue on CRISPR and gene drives.    http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org
  • Shelly brought a 1984 special issue from the CRG archives on  “Biology as Destiny” a Science for the People Sociobiology Study Group publication ($4.00 cover price).
  • WorldCat is a great way to discover library holdings in libraries near you. http://www.worldcat.org
  • Kimberly TallBear, now at University of Alberta area of study is Native American culture and critique of genetic ancestry testing.  There are studies studies by which Native American Markers are often confounded with East Asian markers.
  • Jon from a discussion with the Harvard Medical Student group that explores issues of race and medicine, looked at recent articles from Richard Cooper on Hypertension in African Americans.  The recent papers do not mention mutations in genes linked to high blood pressure qs are mentioned in the dialogues.
  • Jon was interviewed for ideas on how to organize a science progressive group, with an agenda on social justice in science.    “ Free Radicals is a collective of citizen-scientists on a mission to include a critical social justice lens into science.”   https://freerads.org/       

Article for Discussion:

  •  Donovan B.  (2017, submitted) Towards a More Humane Genetics Education: Teaching about human genetic variation can reduce racism.

Discussion Points:

  • The group liked that a positive change on racial attitudes could be achieved through curricular changes.
  • Would be interested in seeing a little more of what the teaching materials looked like since the concepts, such as those presented in Rosenberg 2011, are complex even to us. These would need be understood by students at the middle to high school level.
  • Skin color is an interesting exception to the greater variation within than between populations. And we wondered if this exception was used as part of the lesson plan.
  • Are there plans to follow-up to see how lasting any changes in racial attitudes are?
  • We wondered whether or not our dialogues would help to reinforce any of the lessons.

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