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Multilocus Genetic Analysis and the Assessment of Human Ancestry

Daniel A. Beach

Published: 2009/06/01

Abstract

Social scientists almost universally subscribe to the notion that race is a social construct without a biological basis. In the second half of the twentieth century biological definitions of race were dismissed by professional groups as well as by a sizable portion of the general public. The shortage of convincing research evidence and a reaction to previous racist claims, with the accompanying history of inhumanity, resulted in the near absolute refusal to consider the possibility of a genetic provenance for race. Molecular genetic studies using analysis of multiple loci are reviewed, which identify clusters of genetic markers that consistently show an association with racial group membership. Applications of this research in the medical and forensic sciences are discussed, as well as implications for future investigations.

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