Pharmacogenomics, human genetic diversity and the incorporation and rejection of color/race in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2016-12-14 02:51Z by Steven

Pharmacogenomics, human genetic diversity and the incorporation and rejection of color/race in Brazil

March 2015, Volume 10, Issue 1
pages 48–69
DOI: 10.1057/biosoc.2014.21

Ricardo Ventura Santos
Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública/ FIOCRUZ & Museu Nacional/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Gláucia Oliveira da Silva
Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil

Sahra Gibbon, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
University College, London, United Kingdom

Public funding for research on the action of drugs in countries like the United States requires that racial classification of research subjects should be considered when defining the composition of the samples as well as in data analysis, sometimes resulting in interpretations that Whites and Blacks differ in their pharmacogenetic profiles. In Brazil, pharmacogenomic results have led to very different interpretations when compared with those obtained in the United States. This is explained as deriving from the genomic heterogeneity of the Brazilian population. This article argues that in the evolving field of pharmacogenomics research in Brazil there is simultaneously both an incorporation and rejection of the US informed race-genes paradigm. We suggest that this must be understood in relation to continuities with national and transnational history of genetic research in Brazil, a differently situated politics of Brazilian public health and the ongoing valorization of miscegenation or race mixture by Brazilian geneticists as a resource for transnational genetic research. Our data derive from anthropological investigation conducted in INCA (Brazilian National Cancer Institute), in Rio de Janeiro, with a focus on the drug warfarin. The criticism of Brazilian scientists regarding the uses of racial categorization includes a revision of mathematical algorithms for drug dosage widely used in clinical procedures around the world. Our analysis reveals how the incorporation of ideas of racial purity and admixture, as it relates to the efficacy of drugs, touches on issues related to the possibility of application of pharmaceutical technologies on a global scale.

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