The renewed emphasis on population-specific genetic variation, exemplified most prominently by the International HapMap Project, is complicated by a longstanding, uncritical reliance on existing population categories in genetic research. Race and other pre-existing population definitions (ethnicity, religion, language, nationality, culture and so on) tend to be contentious concepts that have polarized discussions about the ethics and science of research into population-specific human genetic variation. By contrast, a broader consideration of the multiple historical sources of genetic variation provides a whole-genome perspective on the ways i n which existing population definitions do, and do not, account for how genetic variation is distributed among individuals. Although genetics will continue to rely on analytical tools that make use of particular population histories, it is important to interpret findings in a broader genomic context.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology