It’s not really that black and white

Hypothetical situation: you are Caucasian and your physician tells you that you have sickle cell anemia. What’s your reaction? Do you dismiss the news, accept it, or do you immediately order a genetic kit from Ancestry.com? Science is learning more about the juxtaposition of genetics and race. To continue with our example, the sickle cell trait is more prevalent in the Greek town of Orchomenos than it is among African-Americans. Interesting. The issue arises when physicians begin to make treatment decisions based on race alone. For example, kidney disease is more prevalent among people of African descent and that’s because many carry a gene variant called APOL1, but not all do. Does a kidney from a donor of African descent get rejected by a surgeon because it is more likely to fail? Interesting. Personalized medicine is coming, just hang in there and know who your father is.