Genomic Medicine Governance, Ethics, Policy: A Quarterly Review

May 2022

This inaugural edition begins our exploration of a quarterly digest intended to aggregate and distill key content addressing genomic sciences and genomic medicine.  

To curate this digest, we will directly review a broad spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and grey literature, as well as announcements and strategic actions  from various practice domains and organization types including international agencies, INGOs, governments/regulatory bodies, academic and research institutions, consortiums and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. More broadly, we will utilize Google Scholar to scan the literature. We acknowledge that this scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive digest product.

This digest is a service of the GE2P2 Global Foundation and its newly-formed Center for Genomic Medicine Governance, Ethics & Policy. The Foundation is solely responsible for its content. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation

Getting genetic ancestry right for science and society

Getting genetic ancestry right for science and society
We must embrace a multidimensional, continuous view of ancestry and move away from continental ancestry categories
Anna C. F. Lewis, et al.
Policy Forum
Science, Volume 376| Issue 6591| 22 Apr 2022

Glaring health disparities have reinvigorated debate about the relevance of race to health, including how race should and should not be used as a variable in research and biomedicine (1). After a long history of race being treated as a biological variable, there is now broad agreement that racial classifications are a product of historically contingent social, economic, and political processes. Many institutions have thus been reexamining their use of race and racism and stating intentions about how race should be used going forward. One common proposal is to use genetic concepts—in particular, genetic ancestry and population categories—as a replacement for race (2). However, the use of ancestry categories has technical limitations, fails to adequately capture human genetic diversity and demographic history, and risks retaining one of the most problematic aspects of race—an essentialist link to biology—by allowing genetic ancestry categories to stand in its place.