Spoiler: "The Genomics Age p. 58-59 photocopy with caption"
Despite our best efforts in academia and the popular media to educate our children about diversity and the humanistic realities of universal equality, covert racists in our institutions continue to perpetuate the myth that race exists and purports any biological tenability. For example, Gina Smith one of America’s best-known technology journalists, includes the following outrageous race-laden statements in her 2005 book about genomics, “The Genomics Age." This racist pseudoscience is socially destructive and has been clearly debunked by the scientific community.
“The Genomics Age,” Gina Smith, 2005. p.58-59
Reading the “Race” of your DNA
We’ve always known that the children of all lifeforms inherit the genetic traits of their parents —humans included. This understanding has evolved with our understanding of biology, from simple agricultural observations in antiquity to modern ideas about DNA and genomics today. In fact, new tools continue to refine our ability to determine and report your ancestry from even a tiny fraction of your DNA. For example, a $400 23andMe genomic test can determine not only your race, but even your compositional regional identity —from only your saliva sent in the mail. That is, according to your DNA, you’re not just “white,” or even just “Northern European,” but “a mix of this region of England and of this region of what was once Austria.” As historic populations mix, these reports tend to blur. But quite clearly, you can tell simply by looking at someone’s DNA whether they are black or white —to whatever extent “race” can be defined. That is, your DNA can tell you that you have African ancestors with black skin and European ancestors with white skin, but it can’t tell you with what race you should identify if you have a mix of both.
Click to view image: 'Global Similarity 23-andme'
Click to view image: '23andme-ancestry'
Sample genomic race reports
This historic ambiguity is why term “race” has been replaced by “ancestry” to mean “the total inherited character of a population” in human biology. But yes, race exists, even though it’s an antiquated, incomplete term that’s not well defined. And yes, there’s no single deterministic “race gene” even though race is genetic and not biologically arbitrary. A child born to an Ethiopian man and a Cherokee woman is racially ambiguous, ancestrally complex, but never Japanese. Yet, since humans have adapted to notice minute differences in other humans, what seem to be obvious racial differences are actually only very small genetic differences compounded by cultural diversity. How small are these differences? Two chimpanzees, which to a layperson seem indistinguishable, are four times more genetically different than two randomly selected humans. All humans share about 99.9% of the same DNA. But does this mean that humans are virtually all identical twins? Of course not, not any more than you ever considered yourself an identical twin to any random person. That humans share 99.9% of DNA simply means that the mechanisms of human genetic diversity are not immediately intuitive, not that differences don’t exist despite all the contrary evidence due to some metaphysical coup.
Like evolution, race and ancestry are politically controversial subjects with troubling social implications. However, religious bigotry does not dictate scientific physical reality, and a creationist’s apology is no more valid than a multiculturalist’s claim that race does not exist. It’s not science to blatantly distort reality, even if you believe you act on behalf of what you believe is a higher power. Physical reality is not beholden to the machinations of the devil by any name: Satan, Hitler, or any other.
 Technically, from the DNA in the buccal cells found in your saliva.
January 17th, 2009 by Andrew Yates
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