New Forms of Racism Arising in Research: Page 2

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Race and criminal justice

Over the past decade, the expansion of DNA databases which include genetic profiles from people arrested -- but not convicted of crimes -- is also a concern, she said.

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"Genetics have a profound impact on race and the criminal justice system," she said.

Ironically, a new focus on race as a basis for genomics began when the National Institutes of Health -- the world's largest funder of research -- mandated all its genetic studies to have as diverse a representation as possible, in an effort to eliminate health disparities and include more people of color in clinical trials.

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When the Human Genome Project first started in the 1980s, this was not the case.

"We went from a world where genome mappers did not want to touch race with a 10-foot pole, to one in which projects and drugs could no longer survive without reframing their reason for being as a minority rights campaign," said Catherine Bliss, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, San Francisco.

"What we have is an ethical and a fiscal pressure to racialize research and applications across the board," she said.