Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chakravarti on race and kinship

There's an interesting opinion piece at Nature by Aravinda Chakravarti. The part on populations and race covers some pretty familiar ground, but the article is obviously aimed at a more general audience. I'm not really sure what the "population view dominates in genetics" means. I think geneticists use population labels as handy identifiers, which can sometimes lead to some confusing/misleading statements, but I think the majority think that most genetic variation is relatively smoothly distributed (though perhaps I know a biased subset of geneticists). The debate rather is in what forces that have shaped this smoothness and how to interpret deviations.