[asa] Ethnic groups

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@comcast.net>
Date: Wed Sep 02 2009 - 11:07:00 EDT

I have a question about another article that Jack Haas noted on his blog. This article
looks at genetic characteristics of ethnic groups. They "found that overall there are more genetic differences within ethnic groups than between them, indicating that separate 'ethnic groups' exist in the mind more than the blood."

Is that really the right criterion to determine whether ethnic groups exist on a genetic basis? Why isn't it possible to define an ethnic group as those sharing a particular subset of genetic traits, which would likely be a miniscule fraction of the whole, while the rest of the genetic code would provide a significant diversity?

The whole question of whether or not there is a biological basis for ethnicity is a raging controversy, if I understand it correctly. I read somewhere that while evolutionary biologists tend to discount any genetic differentiation, pharmaceutical companies are finding it a helpful, if not necessary, distinction to develop and market effective drugs.


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Received on Wed Sep 2 11:07:46 2009

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