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The Genetic Lottery

  • June 23, 2021
  • 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
  • Zoom

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The Genetic Lottery:  Toward an Anti-Eugenics Framework for Understanding Genetic Differences and their Relationship to Social Inequality(Paige Harden)

Paige Harden

Twin studies and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have found evidence that genes matter for how people's lives turn out differently. Two particularly controversial outcomes that have been studied in recent GWAS are educational attainment and externalizing behavior problems. In this talk, I describe research from my group on how polygenic scores derived from GWASs of education and externalizing are related to socially valued life course outcomes. I then contrast eugenic and anti-eugenic frameworks for interpreting and applying these genetic results. In particular, I emphasize how genetics can be used as a tool for identifying and mitigating inequalities across social contexts, rather than as a tool for justifying and entrenching inequalities.

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