The truth about genetic databases

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ADNTRO would like to share this article published by Nebula Genetics.

The "truth" is that genetic databases within scientific research lack racial diversity. Although more than 26 million individuals have performed some form of genetic testing, an overwhelming majority are Caucasian - the 78% are of European descent to be exact (according to a recent study in Cell). However, Europeans and their descendants make up  barely the 16%  of the human population. This means that the data stored in the association study catalog throughout the genome (GWAS)  and made available for public consultation are inherently, to a large extent, racially biased, which can often lead to biased results of diagnosis especially in prescribed treatments for non-European individuals.

Genetic testing is fast becoming a medical tool to identify variations within our DNA that can influence possible conditions, traits, and / or diseases to which we are predisposed. Although the human population shares around 99.9% of their DNA, the varying 0.1% can make all the difference between a gene that helps preserve someone's health or put them at higher risk of developing a certain disease.

Being racially non-inclusive hurts everyone.

Race is not a biological construct and is not encoded in our DNA, but rather a complex social construct that describes both self-identification and social recognition. However, there are genetic variants that statistically correlate plus  within particular ethnic groups. For example, sickle cell disease (known as hemophilia, and that is genetic 100%) is more common in people of African [American] or Mediterranean descent. Currently, our genetic databases do a social and economic disservice in representing such vast diversity within the human species.

Artistic vision of a Manhattan Plot

New DNA tests help us better understand and even predict  the risk of certain diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, diabetes diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. However, because these complex DNA analyses rely on the genetic databases of most individuals with European ancestry, the tests are going to be inherently less accurate for those who fall into other racial groups. This includes African Americans, Hispanics Asians, Native Hawaiians, or other Pacific Islanders, as well as American Indians or Alaska Natives.

As a result, people within specific racial groups are more likely to get sick and even increase their death rate with certain health conditions just because of their race. For instance,  Compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts, African Americans are typically 25-72% more likely to die from stroke, breast cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. And that is only the beginning. Greater genetic diversity would help create more precise medicinal practices, as well as more specific treatments for all individuals. A mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer may be much more common among African Americans, but if a study focuses primarily on white individuals,the researcher may miss an important or even groundbreaking finding.

So... what can we do about it?

The current lack of diversity within genetic research is ironically depreciating our knowledge about what we most want to know: Human DNA. If we want to learn more Regarding genetic variants or diversity in our DNA that can predispose us to debilitating diseases, we will naturally need to have a deeper understanding of racial uniqueness. The importance of  diversity and inclusion in genomic research is currently motivated not only by a question of social justice, but by a scientific imperative.

Genetic inclusion would lead to a better understanding of the genetic basis of diseases.

Many genetic researchers today are struggling to update their models to further improve the accuracy of their tests. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, has politics and specific guidelines on the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research. Specifically, an effort called "All U.S" aims to include Americans with diverse backgrounds including gender, sexual orientation, and of course ethnicity and ethnicity. race. There are some specific NIH-funded long-term study cohorts for the  Hispanic community.

Representing more genetically diverse participants is one of those ways. It is now more important than ever that minorities participate. Having a better understanding of your DNA can take us one step in the right direction to create a happier and healthier place to everybody, no matter where it comes from. With your help, ADNTRO and other genetic research companies we can provide more accurate and inclusive reports on each individual.

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