Many diseases have both genetic and environmental causes. Scientists often take traditional racial boundaries into account when researching why certain populations seem predisposed to certain diseases. But work on asthma at the University of California–San Francisco is going beyond current concepts of race to consider human genetic variation—how our species has diversified in the past 150,000 years—to hone in on inherited components that may play a role in disease prevalence.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History.

Related Links

U.S. DOE Human Genome Program: Minorities, Race, and Genomics

Nature Essay: Kinship—Race Relations

National Human Genome Research Institute: Rotimi Group

UCSF Sabre-Sandler Asthma Basic Research Center: Esteban Gonzalez Burchard

National Geographic: The Genographic Project

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