The use and misuse of race in health care

In a Q&A, PIK Professor Sarah Tishkoff, the Perelman School of Medicine’s Giorgio Sirugo, and Case Western Reserve University’s Scott Williams shed light on the “quagmire” of race, ethnicity, genetic ancestry, and environmental factors and their contribution to health disparities.

Katherine Unger Baillie

How humans evolved a super-high cooling capacity

The higher density of sweat glands in humans is due, to a great extent, to accumulated changes in a regulatory region of DNA that drives the expression of a sweat gland-building gene, explaining why humans are the sweatiest of the Great Apes.

From Penn Medicine News

In the News

The Scientist

Signaling dynamics fine-tune gene expressiong

Lukasz Bugaj of the School of Engineering & Applied Science comments on a systematic and quantitative look at how gene information is transmitted and what can influence the amount of expression.


WHYY (Philadelphia)

The census has revealed a more multiracial U.S. One reason? Cheaper DNA tests

Wendy Roth of the School of Arts & Sciences comments on the potential implications of genetic ancestry test results shaping how some people report their race for the census.


Does a pie chart change who you are?

Wendy Roth of the School of Arts & Sciences conducted a study that found that people who take consumer DNA tests interpret the results differently according to their existing knowledge of genetics. “The way people interpret scientific evidence is not neutral,” she said.


How genetics paint a picture of the Jewish past

Steven Weitzman of the School of Arts and Sciences commented on efforts to study Jewish genetics. While the research is “fascinating,” he acknowledges that it may make some uncomfortable. “There’s a lot of resistance to [genetic research] within the field of Jewish studies,” Weitzman said. “A lot of people remember or have in mind the role of race science in Nazism. So the idea that Jewish scholars would look in any way to genetics to understand Jewish identity or Jewish history and origins can make people concerned.”


Huffington Post

A DNA test revealed this man is 4% black. Now he wants to abolish affirmative action

Wendy Roth of the School of Arts and Sciences spoke about DNA testing and its intersection with culture and identity. “Right now I don’t think that [companies selling at-home genealogy kits] are generally doing a good enough job of explaining how these tests should be interpreted and what the limitations are and what some potential negative impacts could be,” she said.



As gene testing surges, lawsuits aren’t far behind

Reed Pyeritz of the Perelman School of Medicine co-published a policy statement suggesting that doctors do their best to recontact patients if the interpretation of a genetic test’s results evolves over time.