Mapping Race Through Admixture
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
Doctoral Student, Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, The New School for Social Research