Giant Genetic Bias

Tiny genetic variations have major effects on how drugs work in different people, but bias built into genomic research means prescribing algorithms are best-tailored to European genes—with consequences for everyone.

78% of people included in genomewide association studies are of European descent—a group that makes up just 12% of the global population, according to a new Cell study.

Studying more diverse genetic mutations means more chances to discover genes that are key to understanding diseases. The lack of diversity is “a social injustice, and a missed scientific opportunity,” said Esteban Burchard, a physician and epidemiologist not involved in the study.

PBS Newshour

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