It's Official: Races Differ Genetically


From American Renaissance - 8 - December 2000

The Galton Report A sampling of recent scientific literature by Glayde Whitney

“Ethnicity can be inferred from the fre-quencies of alternative forms, or alle-les, of genes; allele patterns differ by racial origin.” Thus spake Science maga-zine, the official organ of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. We live in confused times. As science increasingly proves the fallacy of the egalitarian myth, politicians and scien-tists who know better keep feeding the public absurd and wrong banalities to the effect that races do not exist (see cover story). The absurdity of these proclamations is all the greater in that sequencing of genomes from the differ-ent “ethnic groups” is only now begin-ning. Even so it is already easy to catego-rize people by race just by looking at their genes. This is because there are many DNA sequences (such as STRs, or Short Tandem Repeats, and SNPs, or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) that differ absolutely from one race to an-other. Many SNPs common in various African tribes have not been found among Caucasians or East Asians, and vice-versa: there are Asian-specific and Caucasian-specific markers not found among sub-Saharan Africans. Also there are markers that are found in all races but at very different frequencies. Com-bining the results of just a few such markers can determine race with virtual certainty (one out of many millions). Forensic genetics–DNA profiling– makes use of these differences and could soon replace fingerprinting. In October, 1998, the FBI started CODIS (Com-bined DNA Index System) to consoli-date DNA identification from the vari-ous state systems. CODIS looks at only 13 STR chromosome markers, but that is enough for absolutely certain indi-vidual identification: As Science notes, “The chance of two [unrelated] indi-viduals on average having the same DNA profile [of just those 13 STRs] is about one in a million billion.” Soon to be added will be markers on the Y-chromosome, which is transmit-ted only in the male line, from father to son, and already a number of race-spe-cific Y-markers have been found. In fo-rensic applications Y-markers will be useful because many violent crimes are male-on-female, and the resulting “bodily fluids” are often a messy mix of DNA from both perpetrator and vic-tim. Analysis of Y-markers will auto-matically concentrate only on the male DNA. Forensic identification is also just beginning to use another source of DNA called mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA. This stuff is interesting because it ex-ists outside the nucleus of the cell–in the mitochondria–and is passed in the egg, from mother to offspring. Thus all the individuals in a female line of descent have the same mtDNA. Of course, fami-lies differ, and races may be thought of as extended families, or sets of people related by common descent. MtDNA is useful also because there is a lot of it: As Science notes, “there’s probably 10,000 times as much mtDNA as there is nuclear DNA. In a sample that’s aged or degraded, it’s quite common that the nuclear DNA has been de-graded beyond the point of recovery, and yet there is mtDNA that can be recov-ered.” This is why mtDNA is extracted from ancient remains, such as 100,000-year-old Neanderthals. It was mtDNA that linked the 9,000 year-old “Cheddar Man” to a “relative living today just down the road in Cheddar, England.” It is mtDNA that would have to be ana-lyzed to determine Kennewick Man’s race. For criminal identification the best is yet to come. There is research at places like the Galton Laboratory (University College London) on determining physi-cal appearance from DNA. “Geneticists can assess the likelihood that a person is a redhead simply by testing for muta-tions in the gene for the receptor for a hormone that spurs production of the pigment melanin. All facial character-istics are on the agenda. A noble Ro-manesque profile or deeply cleft chin could be a villain’s downfall. . . . [W]ithin 10 years we might be looking at genetic tests for the basis of the main facial characteristics like, for example, nose, chin, and forehead shape.” [Wat-son, A., “A new breed of high-tech de-tectives,” Science, Vol. 289, 11 Aug. 2000, Pp. 850-854].

Contributing Editor Glayde Whitney is professor in psychology, psychobiol-ogy and neuroscience at Florida State University.


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