Genetic variation, classification and 'race'

Lynn B. Jorde, Stephen P. Wooding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

355 Scopus citations

Abstract

New genetic data has enabled scientists to re-examine the relationship between human genetic variation and 'race'. We review the results of genetic analyses that show that human genetic variation is geographically structured, in accord with historical patterns of gene flow and genetic drift. Analysis of many loci now yields reasonably accurate estimates of genetic similarity among individuals, rather than populations. Clustering of individuals is correlated with geographic origin or ancestry. These clusters are also correlated with some traditional concepts of race, but the correlations are imperfect because genetic variation tends to be distributed in a continuous, overlapping fashion among populations. Therefore, ancestry, or even race, may in some cases prove useful in the biomedical setting, but direct assessment of disease-related genetic variation will ultimately yield more accurate and beneficial information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Genetics
Volume36
Issue number11 SUPPL. 1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics

Cite this

Jorde, L. B., & Wooding, S. P. (2004). Genetic variation, classification and 'race'. Nature Genetics, 36(11 SUPPL. 1). https://doi.org/10.1034/ng1435