Whites dominate

2016/10/17 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia

In an article published in the journal Nature, two researchers warn of the exclusion of people of non-European origin in genetic studies. In fact, one of the participants in genome research showed that 96% of participants had European origin in a 2009 study. Now, seven years later, the analysis has been redone and it has been proven that the percentage of participants of European origin is 81%. Therefore, it seems that they begin to take into account diversity, but not at all.

According to this study, almost all participants of another origin are Asian, especially Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Indian. Therefore, the rest of the origins remain undervalued. Among them are those of African origin, the descendants of Australian aborigines, the descendants of primitive Americans, American Hispanics…

Researchers stressed that the exclusion of genome databases has harmful consequences for these people of non-European origin. In fact, genetic databases are very useful to detect possible incidents in the metabolization of drugs or relationships between genes and diseases.

For example, the analysis of the data obtained in genetic studies has allowed us to know the relationship of certain genes with diabetes, heart disease, diseases of the circulatory system, schizophrenia, etc., which has allowed us to know these diseases better and to look for more effective and safe treatments.

In the case of drug metabolism, the authors of the analysis have mentioned the CYp2D6 gene. This gene participates in the metabolism of many drugs, including tamoxifen used to treat breast cancer.

It is clear, therefore, that the greater the diversity of participants in genetic studies, the greater the number of people benefited by the information extracted from them. However, these giant genetic databases have two main sources: American Human Genome Research Institute and European Bioinformatics Institute. And most of those who participate in them, obviously, are of European origin.

In principle there are measures to consider diversity. For example, for more than 20 years the U.S. Health Institute has commissioned the reception of participants from all backgrounds in the subsidized investigations. But the mandate is not effective. And in Europe, the authors of the analysis have mentioned social, cultural and economic reasons to rule out those of other origins. They consider that injustice will not be corrected if grants and resources are not allocated. To see.


Published in the newspaper Berria.

Gai honi buruzko eduki gehiago

Elhuyarrek garatutako teknologia