Can we celebrate human genetic diversity?

Lahn, B. T. and L. Ebenstein (2009). “Let’s celebrate human genetic diversity.” Nature 461(7265): 726-728.

Some may argue that there is no significant genetic difference between groups of humans and fear that genetic research can provide evidence to support racists’ arguments.  On the other hand, Lahn and Ebenstein (2009) argue that this kind of view is dangerous, if genetic research projects show that there are significant genetic differences among human groups.  Instead of arguing biological egalitarianism, they suggest to approach human genetic diversity with a positive attitude and celebrate human genetic diversity. 

We have to note that authors did not use the term, race, probably because they did not want to mislead the readers to believe that genetic studies will provide evidence to support racists’ arguments.  Genetic differences among human groups should not equate with existence of biological race.  Clearly, the trend is shift from ‘race’ to human genome variation focused genetic research (Royal and Dunston, 2004).  But I wonder how big the genetic differences have to be to say human groups are genetically different.  Are genetic differences biologically and socially meaningful?  How will the public interpret the genetic data?

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