In the summer of 1991, population geneticists and evolutionary biologists proposed to archive human genetic diversity by collecting the genomes of "isolated indigenous populations". Their initiative, which became known as the Human Genome Diversity Project, generated early enthusiasm from those who believed it would enable huge advances in our understanding of human evolution. However, vocal criticism soon emerged. Physical anthropologists accused Project organizers of re-importing racist categories into science. Indigenous-rights leaders saw a "Vampire Project" that sought the blood of indigenous people but not their well-being. More than a decade later, the effort is barely off the ground.
"This book ranks as the seminal history of the Human Genome Diversity Project. Jenny Reardon tells an entertaining and enlightening story of the very social and political field of human diversity research." Alan H. Goodman, President-Elect, American Anthropological Association, editor of Genetic Nature/Culture
In science and medicine the category of race has not merely survived, it has flourished. In this post-human genome era, it serves as an essential organizing concept for research and presentation of data. How race managed to overcome its past, why it continues to be used, and what the implications are for both science and society, are the subjects of Jenny Reardon's smart, informative, and aptly titled book. -- David J. Rothman and Sheila M. Rothman The New Republic Reardon has written a valuable book ... Although Reardon does not provide the story of the HGDP, she offers a useful story of the problems that effort faced. -- Henry T. Greely Science
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