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October 16, 2018

Examining How Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry Data Are Used in Biomedical Research

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 2National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2018;320(15):1533-1534. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13609

The complexities of social identity and genetic ancestry have led to confusion and consternation related to the use and interpretation of race, ethnicity, and ancestry data in biomedical research. These discussions and overt debates have intensified with advances in genomics and knowledge about how social factors interact with biology. As more information about genomic diversity becomes available, the limitations of assigning social, political, and geographic labels to individuals become clearer; these limitations have led to growing challenges for researchers to communicate information about human genomic variation.

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