DNA ancestry tests branded ‘meaningless’

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-02-22 02:00Z by Steven

DNA ancestry tests branded ‘meaningless’

The Telegraph

Nick Collins, Science Correspondent

Customers are being charged up to £300 to learn whether they have links to famous people or societies despite the fact many of the tests are not backed up by scientific evidence, experts said.

The amount of DNA any individual inherits from relatives just a few steps up their family tree is negligible compared with the vast amount we all share from common ancestors.

It means any ancestral “history” identified by a simple genetic test is just one of dozens of possible interpretations, and to try to trace our lineage directly through our genes is “absurd”, they claimed…

… The warning was backed by a number of leading genetics experts. Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics at UCL said: “On a long trudge through history – two parents, four great-grandparents, and so on – very soon everyone runs out of ancestors and has to share them.

“As a result, almost every Briton is a descendant of Viking hordes, Roman legions, African migrants, Indian Brahmins, or anyone else they fancy.”…

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Science must not invent new myths about race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2011-08-19 22:38Z by Steven

Science must not invent new myths about race

London Evening Standard

Lindsay Johns

Science and race have never been easy bedfellows. Since Victorian times, when Western scientific advancement was used as an intellectual and moral justification for European colonial expansion, science or pseudo-science has occupied an uncomfortable place in our understanding of race.

Yet today, as Professor Steve Jones will argue at a debate tonight, it is commonly held by scientists that, genetically, there is no such thing as race.

It has been proven that there is a negligible amount of difference between the DNA of different “races”. Rather, race is a social construct, a fluid and malleable entity.

In America, the “one drop” rule of black blood still effectively renders anyone with any in them, even if they are quite light skinned, as “black”.

Elsewhere, race being such a nebulous entity, it can often be confusing. For example, many mixed-race people, myself included, are often mistaken for Arabs…

…Yet it would be naive to deny that race, although biologically inconsequential, is still very much a social reality.

Many social and economic disparities still arise from it: people use race to define themselves.

Scientists of all backgrounds have a duty to interpret data responsibly: their pronouncements on race have ethical, legal and social implications…

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