At the same time, genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA. Ancestry tests tell customers what percentage of their genes are from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. The heart-disease drug BiDil is marketed exclusively to African-Americans, who seem genetically predisposed to respond to it. Jews are offered prenatal tests for genetic disorders rarely found in other ethnic groups.
But many geneticists, wary of fueling discrimination and worried that speaking openly about race could endanger support for their research, are loath to discuss the social implications of their findings. Still, some acknowledge that as their data and methods are extended to nonmedical traits, the field is at what one leading researcher recently called ‘a very delicate time, and a dangerous time.’
‘There are clear differences between people of different continental ancestries,’ said Marcus W. Feldman, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University. ‘It’s not there yet for things like I.Q., but I can see it coming. And it has the potential to spark a new era of racism if we do not start explaining it better.’
(via Hit and Run).