Does Race Exist ?

Although human race can separate people into members of groups, it can’t be accurate to separate people into their geographic origins. For example, people who are considered black in the U.S. can be considered as white in Brazil and colored in South Africa. Therefore, separating people by their skin color can not be an accurate method. It’s really interesting to see how people’s race can be shown by having certain diseases. In other words, sickle cell disease is found mostly in people who are African or Mediterranean descent, while cystic fibrosis is more common in people who come from European ancestry.  In addition to the variety of diseases, it’s common to see that the drugs for cardiac diseases are less effective to African-Americans than other groups. Over the past years, scientists have found a way to classify human groups who have common heritage and separate people into groups by using genetic informations. Scientists has spent years for collecting datas about the genetic constitution of populations in order to link between ancestry and patterns of disease. Clearly, people who are divided into groups by their genetic informations can have different skin color than the rest members of the group, which can be caused by natural selection that plays a role in changing skin color to adapt environments.

Although humans are classified by their skin colors such as, African Americans as black, and Europeans as white, scientists can classify humans by their genes. Over the past 100,000 years humans who have migrated from Africa to other countries in the world and increased the number of human species. It’s possible to look for the degree of the relatedness of humans by looking at polymorphisms in the DNA. Although some polymorphisms appear in the genes, it can cause individual variation in traits that would cause genetic diseases. Scientists have found millions of polymorphisms reflect the history of the population and the effects of natural selection. I personally found it interesting to know that polymorphisms also that appear in different sequences can classify people into groups. Alus is a class of the polymorphisms, which is a short copies of the DNA that is similar to another short piece of DNA. Also, once the Alu sequence can stay for eras by getting passed to descendants. In other words, couples or people who have the same Alu sequence in the same place in the genome are probably coming from the same ancestor who passed them their particular sequence. I really like the study of the geneticists, Jonathan Pritchard and Noah Rosenberg, who were able to test around “375 polymorphisms called short tandem repeats in more than 1000 people from 52 ethnic groups in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americans” (Does Race Exist). I was really surprised  that they found five different groups of people who had their ancestors isolated by oceans, mountains, or deserts. In addition, they found subgroups for each region matched with every member’s self-reported ethnicity. In other words, by looking at the polymorphisms, scientists can separate people by their geographic origin instead of classifying humans by their skins.

Although humans can be classified from their race, or skin color, the skin color is caused by the natural selection. In other words, someone from sub-Saharan African and Australian aborigines can have the same skin pigmentation because of natural selection that is caused from adapting to the strong sun. Also, it’s common to see people from different continents are genetically similar because of migrants hundred thousands years ago who separated people and the natural selection that can cause people moved to other places have different skin color than the ones who live in a place where requires a different natural selection. Categorizing people who came from different origins is not easy. For example, when a couple from two different groups can bring a generation that is mixed of both traits which make it harder to relate it to the ancestors of the parents.

Mutations are always common in genetics and mutations are also responsible for sickle cell disease and some cases of cystic fibrosis. For example, people who inherit a copy of sickle cell polymorphism are likely to have resistance to malaria. Also, people who inherit cystic fibrosis trait are likely to be less prone to dehydration made from cholera. However, people who inherit on mutation trait from each parent are likely to have symptoms of the diseases. In addition to the cystic fibrosis and the sickle cell diseases, genetic variations can cause a really serious disease, such as AIDS. Some individuals have some deletion in their genes which causes to loose the production of CCR5 that protects the body from viruses. When the body is missing CCR5, the virus HIV-1 infection enters the body and causes death to individuals. It was interesting to know that even some polymorphisms in CCR5 are not resistant to the virus which also causes death to the individual. Also, I was really interested reading about some polymorphisms delay diseases and for other groups it can accelerate the disease to lead to death which is really important so people can find medicines for certain groups based on their origins and genes. It’s sad that ancestors can pass mutations and diseases to the descendents, such as diabetes that are caused form polymorphisms that copy traits and genes to the new generations. Although there are medicines for some diseases, such as diabetes, medicines are not always effective for people from different origins which make it even more complex to find a specific medicines to end diseases.  

Medicines can differ for people from different contents, therefore it’s really important to identify the right medicine to the right person. There are some suggestions from the US. Food and Drug Administration that asks to collect genomic data on each individual to make an effective medicines for diseases that are coming from genetic and environmental differences.  Other people, such as Jay Kaufman argued that race can not be used from physicians to pick the right medicines for people from different contents. Other studies say that the different genetics of individuals is important because the rate of complications from diseases can differ according to race.