"Race" does not determine biology (and vice versa)
The research leading to the discovery of a gene variant the increases the risk of heart attack is to be commended (Gene find links race, heart risk" AJC 11/11/05 Pg A1). However, physicians and others who apply this research must remember that given the high levels of genetic variation within population groups, and the large amounts of ethnic admixture that continue to exist in the US and elsewhere, many people who self-identify as African-American may not carry the gene variant and have no increased risk of heart attack. Likewise, those who do not identify as African-American may well have the version of the gene that raises risk of health attack.
Though race and ethnicity remain important and relevant social phenomena, decades of biological research offer no evidence of a biological or physical basis for race. For that reason, it is critical that scientists and physicians focus on measurable, medically-relevant factors and avoid making assumptions about genetics or health based on race or ethnicity.
Karama C. Neal, PhD