According to the 23andMe article, there is a real issue with diversity in genetic research. In a 2011 article, data showed that only 4% of all genome-wide association studies had been conducted using samples of non-European participants. A recent study also revealed that African Americans are more likely than whites to mistakenly be told they carry a mutation putting them at risk for a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy. How could a professional scientist or geneticist make a huge mistake like this? The overall aspect of health research having a diversity problem has gone unsolved and over looked for far too long.

Now….I know what you’re asking yourself.  How could this mistake happen and why has there not been an effort to fix this problem?

And what of the media?  Why are they not reporting about the mistaken cardiomyopathy prognosis for countless African Americans?

As I read more and more articles, I am slowly learning that diversity is not just a problem in technology but also in other areas as well. To wrongly inform a group of people that they have a life changing condition can lead to emotional pain and medical costs. We must begin to hold researchers and scientists in the field of genetics more accountable for their actions. If we do not, mistaken prognosis will continue.

by Ray Hayes

Leave a Reply