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TEDxNorthwesternU - Rick Kittles - The Biology of Race in the Absence of Biological Races

Defining "race" continues to be a nemesis. Knowledge from human genetic research is increasingly challenging the notion that race and biology are inextricably linked, engendering tremendous ramifications for human relations, identity and public health. It has become fashionable for geneticists and anthropologists to declare that race is a social construction. However, there is little practical value to this belief since few in the public believe and act on it. Thus race is mainly a social concept which in the US has been based on skin color and ancestry. Yet biomedical studies continue to examine black/ white differences. Kittles discusses why using race in biomedical studies is problematic using examples from U.S. groups which transcend "racial" boundaries and bear the burden of health disparities. Rick Kittles, PhD, received a BS in biology from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989 and a PhD in biological sciences from George Washington University in 1998. He then helped establish the National Human Genome Center at Howard University. Currently, Kittles is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), as well as the associate director of the UIC Cancer Center. Kittles is well known for his research of prostate cancer and health disparities among African Americans. He has also been at the forefront of the development of ancestry-informative genetic markers, and how genetic ancestry can be used to map genes for common traits and disease. His work on tracing the genetic ancestry of African Americans has brought light to many issues, new and old, which relate to race, ancestry, identity, and group membership. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.
Length: 16:55

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