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The Role of Biological ‘Race’ in Understanding Genetic Disease

David Metcalfe

Published: 2008/03/01

Abstract

Much research into ethnic health inequalities seeks to explain these phenomena in terms of some ethnic groups suffering cultural and socioeconomic disadvantage. Although these factors undoubtedly influence ethnic minority health outcomes, this review explores what is currently understood about the biological causes of health inequalities between ethnic groups. These health outcomes are considered within the context of the evolutionary mechanisms underlying such differences. The article then explores limitations of the ‘race’ concept and considers its appropriate application within the settings of biomedical research and clinical decision making.

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