Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Black genes

Medical science is beginning to accept that genetic factors play a role in the disease rates of different racial groups:

This summer, Howard University Medical School in Washington announced it will begin building a first-of-its-kind gene bank. Although other gene banks would be larger — such as Iceland's DeCode project or the United Kingdom's proposal to bank the DNA of about 500,000 Britons — Howard University's initiative is unique. It proposes to collect and store the DNA only of those who identify themselves as African American.

Over the next five years, the project would gather the genetic codes, along with personal and family health histories, of about 25,000 people. Once up and running, Howard's "biobank" could help solve the enduring medical mystery: why African Americans seem to fall ill with so many diseases — hypertension, heart disease, prostate and breast cancer, asthma, glaucoma and obesity — more frequently than do white Americans and most major ethnic groups in the United States.

At a time when the nation stews over the practice of racial profiling and debates whether race continues to have any real meaning, Howard's biobank — along with a welter of other initiatives — points toward a provocative conclusion: that some racial differences are encoded in the genes, and those differences can make people of one skin color inherently more or less susceptible to certain diseases than people whose complexion is different. In short, in matters of health, it seems that race matters.


At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

History has proven that those of African decent seem to be more athletic than other races.

So in this case maybe it's something to do with social conditioning.. I mean America is full of big people as it is, they consume a lot.. I think that could be a health risk in itself.

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