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J Natl Med Assoc. Apr 2003; 95(4): 309–312.
PMCID: PMC2594614

Human genome, race and medicine.


In closing, with the new revelations of the Human Genome Project, notions on whether land-based race identity or ethnicity with genetic markers has been proven valid, with few exceptions. This has caused me to revisit the attempted effort to discard concepts on race, especially in medicine. Obviously there are outliers to this new work. But contrary to popular belief, and to some, the unthinkable, there may be, in fact, a biologic basis for our human distinctions. And I for one do not feel shame or seem perplexed by it. Moreover, it appears that Dr. Welsing in her earlier work was onto something, and was indeed ahead of her time. The problem African Americans, and other persons of color face, to some extent, has to do with the social political context of racism, and the biologic impact it has and is often expressed in the form of stress and injuries, simply put. Therefore, and more importantly, eliminating the nomenclature of how we classify ourselves in our intellectual interchange in science and other areas, will not correct our problems, but may in fact, if abandon, spell our doom. Because what we are murderously burdened by has to do with racism and its effects. Which are in effect, based on physical features, not mere classification. Further, the current thought on racism and why it is practiced by some is that racism serves an evolutionary drive to survive by humans, by forming alliances in among similar groups of people. Therefore, if that is the case, we had better be ready for the long haul in this battle as our history and ongoing struggles tell us. Besides, if not for racism, "we would not have had all of these problems over all these years." The National Medical Association and its publishing instruments must remain vigilant and stay focused.

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Selected References

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  • Stephenson J. Gene mutation link with HIV resistance. JAMA. 2001 Sep 26;286(12):1441–1442. [PubMed]
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  • Dawson George. Observations and comments on the September 11 attacks on the United States, an African American physician's perspective. J Natl Med Assoc. 2002 Aug;94(8):732–734. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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