Mapping Race Through Admixture

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Mapping Admixture Linkage Disequilibrium (MALD) is a technology that separates genomic ancestral lineages to identify disease genes. In the U.S., where a significant segment of the population has unknown ancestral origins, researchers use MALD to tease out continental haplotypes and (re)assign ancestry to disease samples. While MALD is fast-becoming a primary medical genetic technology, its publicly known uses lie in the service fields of recreational DNA genealogy and forensic profiling. Here, private companies use MALD to tell clients where their ancestors likely came from or to advise law enforcement on what kind of racially-defined features to look for in a suspect. This paper looks at the practical assemblage of MALD applications and its effects in defining ancestry in terms of race. Through this assemblage, society co-produces the genome as racial and race as genetic. Moreover, identity is refashioned through a genomic knowledge of self.


Keywords: Knowledge, Genetics, Race
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , Mapping Race through Admixture


Catherine Bliss

Doctoral Student, Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, The New School for Social Research
New York, New York, USA

Catherine Bliss is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Sociology of the New School for Social Research. Ms. Bliss has a MA in Sociology and an MA in Ethnic Studies. Her research interests are scientific knowledge production, cultural studies of scientific communities, and social constructions of race. She is currently completing a dissertation on molecular genetic productions of race and ethnicity.

Ref: T08P0091