How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of Race » David Reich, professeur de génétique à Harvard, mars 2018.
Race: a social destruction of a biological concept » Biol Philos, 2010.
Taboo genetics
” Nature, 2013.
Race” (2012) Troisième édition de John R. Baker, professeur de biologie à Oxford.
The Biology of Race and the Concept of Equality” Ernst Mayr (2002) 
Sex and Races, Two Realities” Michel Raymond, Research Director at the CNRS. Le Monde, May 17, 2013 (in french).

1. Introduction

2. Classification of Homo Sapiens in the Animal Kingdom
Table 1 : Taxinomic Classification of Homo Sapiens 
3. The Main Human Races
Table 2 : A Dozen of Human Races
4. The Emergence of the Main Human Races
-North Africans and South Asians (Middle Easterners)
-Southeast Asians
-Pacific Islanders
-Australian Aborigenes
-East Asians
-Arctic People
-Native Americans
5. Invalidation of the Main Counter Arguments
6. The Genomic Revolution and Racial Ancestry
7. Medications for Each Races? 
8. Conclusion

‘It is no longer possible to ignore the genetic differences between races (…) Some claim that these differences would be small, it is not correct’
-David Reich, professor of genetics at Harvard, 2018.

‘Those who claim that there is no human race are obviously ignorant of modern biology. Breeds are not something specifically human; breeds are present in a high percentage of animal species’
-Ernst Mayr, 2002 (E. Mayr is considered the greatest evolutionary biologist of 20th century).

‘Asserting that human races, considered as separate subspecies, do not exist is an insult to me and the objective work of evolutionary biologists. This new age of modern progressive refusing evidence that contradict their worlview is alarming. We as society need to rething our way of biased thinking’
– Richard Dawkins, 2005. 

‘Very educated and intelligent people can have a severe backlash when they realize that the media and sometimes even the academies have been lying to them all their lives about racial differences’
– Steven Pinker, 2018.

‘It is not true that racial classification is of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance. It is not true that two random individuals from any one group are almost as different as any two random individuals from the entire world and it is not true  and that you can’t predict someone’s race by their genes’
– AWF Edwards, Cambridge genetics professor, 2003 (in Human biodiversity, Lewontin’s Fallacy).

In summary
It is a general principle of evolutionary biology that when populations of a species become isolated from each other, they evolve into two or more subspecies. They are called varieties, strains or races. In the case of humans, these different varieties are called races. These different varieties evolve under the effect of four processes (1) founder effects (2) genetic drift (3) mutation and (4) adaptation

1. Introduction.

Equality and negation of the concept of human races…
It is a term which, since the end of the second world war, has been virulently attacked, decked out with a series of heavy connotations destined to sink it, the notion of human race cannot be erased.

After decades of egalitarian fanaticism, the notion of race is again generally accepted even if it is sometimes replaced by “populations” or “genetic clusters” in the scientific litterature.

We will see that egalitarian ideology tried, at the end of the 20th century especially, to invalidate the notion of race by pseudo-scientific arguments. It’s interesting because it’s a typical case of lyssenkism. Now that the reason is coming back little by little, we can look into this case to see what the frauds were.

2. Classification of Homo Sapiens in the Animal Kingdom

The biological definition of a race:

“Subdivision of a species that inherits characteristics distinguishing it from other populations of the species. In the genetic sense a race is a population that differs in the incidence of certain genes from other populations, consequence of an isolation, most often geographical”

3. The Main Human Races/Populations/Genetic Clusters

It is not essential to call these genetic groups “races”. This is the most appropriate and usual term from a scientific point of view, but “populations”, “genetic clusters” or “subspecies” are perfect synonymous and can be used instead.

Table 2. The Main Races/Populations/Genetic Clusters/Subspecies in homo sapiens, Genetic Classification Based on a Sufficient Number of Polymorphisms.

races humaines

The number n of races/populations/genetic clusters is variable. A race is like the branch of a tree. How many trees does a tree have? If you look at the big branches, near the trunk, you will have a small number of large branches. If you look more on the periphery, you will have more smaller branches. This is an consubstantial with the race concept in biology. However, scientists generally consider large branches as a race in a species. Homo sapiens has a dozen. The exact number depends on the focus.

A subspecies or race (or genetic cluster of population) emerges spontaneously by speciation processes that apply to a generally geographically isolated population. inbreeding for long periods with the particular selection pressure of a determined environement will lead to an evolution (a modification of the allelic frequencies and possibly the appearance of certain mutations) so that the phenotype is in adequacy with this environment. This occurs by simple natural selection. When the insulation lasts long enough it will create a new species. A race is an intermediate stage in evolution. Darwinian evolution is impossible without races.

To see a race appears, there must be geographical isolation for a period of time sufficient for the occurrence of a variation in allelic frequencies.
It is not a must to see the appearance of new alleles (although there are many of them, for example alleles for the epicanthic eyes which is not present in Europeans while it is in East Asian, there is the East Asian subcutaneous fat layer that gives them a yellowish appearance… but the qualitative difference is not necessary) to speak of a race, it is enough that there is a sufficient quantitative variability, consequent of a geographical isolation during a sufficient period of time.

The question is:
Have human groups remained sufficiently isolated from one another to be able to talk about races? What is this minimum time t?
For purposes of objectivity, it seems sensible to see what is the mean of appearance of different races for different species of animals and to compare these times to the time during which homo sapiens peoples have remained isolated from one another. other.

Dogs have differentiated from wolves 15,000 years ago, to then give a diversity like no other in mammals. Their behavior has also changed: dogs are better at recognizing human voices and gestures, while wolves do not understand us at all.

chiens races

There is no complex behavior found in the dog without a detectable precursor in the wolf. Even if this is the case, that there are no new mutations in the canine genome, this does not mean that all dogs are the same! The variation of the allelic frequencies of the genes makes the difference. In an American study of dog attacks between 1982 and 2006, 1100 attacks were attributed to pit bull terriers against a single attack by a border collars. Dogs all belong to the same species, but there are morphological as well as “psychological” differences between breeds. In terms of learning ability, the number of repetitions required to learn a new command can vary greatly from one breed to another. A border collars can learn a new command after 5 repetitions and answers correctly in 95% of the cases whereas a basset needs 80 to 100 repetitions to answer correctly only in 25% of the cases.

chiens races 2

Let’s go back to the homo sapiens and let’s trace succinctly the evolution to show that the isolation times between the racial groups are quite identical to those found in the rest of the world animal. As shown in Figure 2, these isolation times are not equal between all races: Africans have lived in isolation from other human groups for 100 thousand years, whereas for East Asians have separated from other races. more than 40 thousand years ago and are thus closer genetically.

The example of dogs, if it is familiar, is not necessarily the most appropriate because it involves artificial selection processes by humans. It is purely illustrative. Most animal species have subspecies or races naturally occurring through the usual processes of speciation.

The giraffe, for example, has 9 races or subspecies:

1 C. peralta – Southwest Niger.
2. c. reticulata – Northeastern Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia.
3. c. Angolensis – Angola, Botswana, Namibia.
4. c. antiquorum – Chad, Central African Republic, Northeastern Cameroon.
5. c. tippelskirchi – Masai Giraffe – Central and Southern Kenya, Tanzania, Eastern Rwanda
6. c. camelopardalis – Eastern Sudan, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
7. c. rothschildi – Uganda, North-Central Kenya.
8. c. giraffa – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique.
9. thornicrofti – Zambia.

The wolf has 38 subspecies or races.

The fox has 45 subspecies or races.

The raccoon has 22 subspecies or races.

The orang-utan of Borneo have 3 subspecies or races (and several extinct races).

Kangaroos have 2 subspecies or races occupying separate Australian territories.

In all cases, the elementary processes of speciation are in play. The emergence of a dozen of races or subspecies in homo sapiens does not derogate from these evolutionary processes.

4. The Emergence of the Main Human Races.

Homo sapiens emerges in Africa 200 thousand years ago.

1.      Africans

Homo sapiens appears 200 thousand years ago in equatorial Africa.

2. North Africans and South Asians (Middle Easterners)

The first groups to migrate out of sub-Saharan Africa colonized North Africa and Southwest Asia 100 to 90 thousand years ago. At this level they were isolated from the Africans by the distance and by the Sahara desert and thus evolved into a distinct race: North African and South Asian.

3. Southeast Asians (Cambodia, Indonesia…)

People from South Asia migrated to Southeast Asia about 70,000 years ago and evolved into Southeast Asians.

4. Pacific Islanders

Only 6000 years ago, some Southeast Asians began migrating to the Pacific Islands, where they evolved into a distinct race, the Pacific Islanders.

5. Australian Aborigines

Some of the peoples of South Asia and East Asia emigrated to the islands of the Indonesian archipelago and arrived in New Guinea some 65,000 years ago. Some 60,000 years ago some of these peoples emigrated to Australia, where they evolved into Australian Aborigines. A closely related people survived in the highlands of New Guinea as the aborigines of New Guinea.

6. Europeans

Some of the peoples who colonized the Near East between 100,000 and 90,000 years ago migrated to the north and about 60,000 years ago reached the Caucasus, from which they spread into the Ukraine, then, there is about 40,000 years old, in Central and Western Europe. Other peoples of Southwest Asia began to colonize southeastern Europe in Anatolia. These people have evolved into Europeans with their pale skin and, in northern Europe, their blond hair and blue eyes. Europeans were isolated from South Asians and North Africans by the Mediterranean Sea, and to the east by the Black and Caspian Seas, the high mountains of the Caucasus and Himalayas, and the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan.

7. East Asians (China, Japan, Korea, Singapore…)

People of the South and Central Asia began to colonize North Asia between -60,000 and -50,000 years ago, where they evolved into East Asians. East Asians were isolated from the Europeans by the Gobi desert in the west and South Asians by the Himalayas to the south. The winters to which they were exposed were much more severe than in South Asia and a little more severe than in Europe, with colder temperatures in winter, about -12 ° C during the main glaciation. It is in response to cold winters that East Asians have gradually adapted a typical morphotype of cold: a recessed nose to prevent frostbite, small legs and a thick trunk to retain heat, and a layer of fat subcutaneous insulating which gives the skin a yellowish appearance (similar to that of Eskimos) Facial hair has become more rare in men, because the abundant beard froze and produced frostbite. The slanted eyes help to mitigate the effect of the icy wind.

8. Arctic People 

Somewhere between -50,000 and -40,000 of the peoples of Asia migrated to the far north of Asia where they evolved to the peoples of the Arctic. These peoples evolved into a separate race because they were geographically isolated from East Asia, to the south by the Chiskiy, Khrebet, Khingan, and Sayan mountains, and by about a thousand miles of forest. north of the Love River. The Arctic peoples experienced the most severe periods of cold with winter temperatures of about -15 ° C, and falling to about -20 ° C during the Würm Main glaciation. In response to these cold winters, Arctic peoples have evolved with morphological adaptations typical of the cold, including the flat nose, short legs and thick trunk, a layer of subcutaneous fat insulation that gives this appearance yellowish to the skin, and hybridization of the eyes.

9. Native Americans

Native Americans evolved from peoples who migrated from North Asia to Alaska through the Bering Strait, and then made their way to America. The dates at which these crossings were made are disputed and it has been frequently claimed that they occurred about 12,000 to 11,000 years ago. Contrary to these allegations, everything suggests that they were made much earlier, around 40,000 years ago. Evidence comes from both archaeological records and genetic analysis. The archaeological discoveries of Native American artifacts have been dated by radiocarbon analysis as dating back to -24,000 years ago in Mexico, 30,000 years ago in California, 32,000 years ago in northeastern Brazil, there are 35,000 to 43,000 years for a Rockwall painting in the Serra National Park in the Northeast of Brazil and 33,000 years ago in Monte Verde in Chile. It took the people several thousand years to make their way from Alaska to South America. Archaeological evidence is corroborated by genetic analysis that also dates the first migration to America at about -40,000 years ago.

It seems very likely that some East Asians migrated north about 50,000 years ago, some migrated northward on the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Cherski Peninsula, and then crossed the Bering Strait in Alaska. 40,000 years ago. Some of these peoples migrated south until they colonized all of the Americas and evolved into Native Americans, while the East Asian peoples who remained in North Asia evolved into Asians. from the east. The common and relatively recent origin of these two subdivisions is apparent and evidenced from a number of genetic similarities. For example, the rhesus negative blood group is rare in these two populations and the Diego blood group is unique in them. They also have similar hair texture and black hair, special incisors and bone in the skull.

The times of isolation (100 thousand years between Europeans and Africans, 40 thousand years between East Asians and Europeans) are perfectly sufficient to see the emergence of different races, the opposite, even as homo sapiens experienced very different environments with particular climates, had been totally incredible, anyway it is obvious that a different evolution took place, since the races differ physically. These differences are often so great that there is a clear contrast in their appearance: no European can be confused with an African, or an African with a European. Physical differences have a genetic explanation, so we know that there have been genetic changes.

It has often been said that the differences between human populations are superficial, consisting of surface variations such as skin color or hair color, rather than changes in kidney function or brain development. Already, experts can easily detect someone’s race by their skeleton, so it seems that these differences go to the bones. In fact, when two populations evolve in isolation from one another during such a period, there are differences that occur in all areas in which there are possibilities of genetic variation, and recent studies as well as older ones. elsewhere have shown that there are, for example, genetic differences in brain development. [i]

It is natural for biologists to focus on apparent differences, but this does not imply that all differences are visible, in truth it is these superficial scientists, not the differences.

genetic cluster

Within a race, there are obviously also subsets. Take the example of the race of sub-Saharan Africans:

genetic cluster 2

John Goodrum has compiled comparative data on genetic diversity in animals, including homo sapiens. This diversity is appreciated in terms of heterozygosity, calculating the average of autosomal microsatellite, heterozygosity of a population (H) is the percentage of individuals who are heterozygous (two alleles) on a random locus. H varies from 0 to 1 or 0-100%; the higher the value, the greater the genetic diversity of a species. In the table below, we find the theoretically expected heterozygosity He and the heterozygosity observed in practice Ho.

diversité génétique humain

Homo sapiens are genetically more diverse than many mammal species.

Indeed, many species including subspecies or races have a lower value of diversity between these racial subpopulations. Goodrum has compiled examples of genetic diversity between races in different animals, the genetic distance is in FST. In the table below, note that 0.168 is the same as 16.8%, 0.155 is the same as 15.5%, etc.

diversité génétique humain 2

Homo sapiens is therefore in a position totally equivalent to other animal species.

The following table, based on the Sewall Wright scale, shows again that the homo sapiens species with a value of 15.5 is not divergent compared to other species of the animal kingdom.

FST Extent of differentiation between populations 
0 – 0.05 small
0.05 – 0.15 moderate
0.15 – 0.25 great          <-homo sapiens (>0,15)
> 0.25 very great

5. Invalidation of the Main Counter-Arguments

Let’s now take a closer look at the counter-arguments frequently mentioned:

     1. “There are biological differences in the human species, but they           are not sufficient for us to legitimately speak of races

Answer: Or the term is relevant to all individuals of the animal kingdom, including homo sapiens, or this term must be invalidated for all species. We have previously mentioned the times of isolation between Africans and Caucasians, 100 thousand years, and between East Asians and Caucasians, 40 thousand years. In what way would the genetic variability logically resulting from this isolation be less in 100 thousand years for homo sapiens than it is in 15 thousand years for dogs?
Moreover, men and chimpanzees share 98.8% of genes in common, yet it would not come to anyone’s mind to deny the relatively large differences. Between homo sapiens and Neanderthals, the similarity reaches even 99.5%. And if we compare men and women, the genetic difference is even smaller, yet it gives rise to a very real differentiation.

It is therefore good that the difference is not proportional to the quantitative difference, it is not relevant to deny the racial classification on the basis of a high genetic similarity since very small variations are at the origin of high phenotypes. different. Slight alterations of the foxP2 gene are probably responsible for the human speech ability compared to monkeys.

It must therefore be understood that very small genetic variations can cause large visible or invisible differences, and that variability between different human groups is sufficient to be able to talk about races when the times are isolated. were sufficient.

          2. “We are 99.9% the same”
Answer: This argument follows the previous one and differs only very little. He is focusing even more on science. Let’s examine exactly what it is. This figure is frequently used to support the idea that there is no biological basis for racial taxonomy, since we would all be virtually identical. However, these 0.1% contain a very important part of genetic information …
Dna is composed of 4 bases, adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine. Combinations of these 4 nucleotides (A, T, C, G) constitute the genetic code present in each of our cells. There are 3.2 billion base pairs in the human genome, so this difference of 0.1% allows a difference of up to 3.2 million nucleotides.
Man shares 90% of his genes in common with the mouse, no one proclaims that mice and men are virtually identical. Yet they are sufficiently similar to be used in medical research to evaluate the treatment effect of human diseases.
Men and women share more than 99% of their gene, yet no one asserts that sex is primarily a social construct.
The effects of copy number variation (CNV) are only decrypted. This is a dna segment that shows a deletion, multiplication, or other rearrangement that changes the number of copies of that sequence across the entire genome. CNVs can have a very large size of several million paired bases. ERPL. et al (2006) demonstrated that at least 12% of human dna consists of CNV. We have already found 1447 CNV affecting 2900 genes!
The relationship between CNV and pathology is beginning to be clarified, and there are already 17 diseases of the nervous system that would be involved, including Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease (Ionita-Laza et al., 2009). The claim that men would share 99.9% of their DNA is impossible given these discoveries, and can only be seen as an unfortunate mistake that will continue to plague every time it appears in the press.

3.”There is a gradual change in the human species, the variation is continuous, as for the skin color that goes from white to black through many intermediaries”
Answer: It is obligatory, and it stems from miscegenation. However, this interbreeding, if it is sufficient to create intermediate forms, does not invalidate the existence of human races as such. Besides, miscegenation is a very small phenomenon on a planetary scale. By mixing yellow and red it gives orange, we agree, but it does not invalidate the existence of red and yellow, on the contrary the miscegenation comes to validate the existence of distinct races. (Rosenberg et al., 2005) If there is a continuum, this necessarily signifies the existence of different races, otherwise there would be no continuum but rather a completely random distribution of characteristics across the globe. not the case. In Asia, in Africa or even in Europe, miscegenation remains relatively marginal, only South America gives pride of place to the half-breeds that have considered it as intermediate forms. As in any other animal species, miscegenation is not a contradiction of the race but its validation, because two races are interbreeding. If two breeds are not interbreeding, then we will no longer talk about different breeds but different species! And do you believe for a moment that the human species is more mixed than other animal species?

4.”The racial classification is based on random criteria and one could thus group different groups and name them similarly races”
Answer: this is not correct, which is at the origin of the appearance of human groups having a higher genetic homogeneity between them, it is the geographical isolation.
This classification does not take into account any elements, it results from an isolation of one population with respect to another which has thus caused an internal but more external variability during a certain period of time. The gene for superior skin pigmentation is found in Africans, but more so in Europeans who have lost it, as well as genes coding for higher testosterone levels in Africans (an average of 19% higher) , a higher bone density, longer forearms and forearms, a mean gestational duration of less than a week (39 versus 40 for Caucasians), an earlier age of walking in childhood (which is the As a result of the earlier maturation of the central nervous system and is therefore of genetic origin), an earlier bone age, or the appearance of puberty a year earlier than a European.
In addition, laboratories can easily determine a person’s race from hair, blood, bone, or sperm.
As you can see, there are internal similarities to groups that differ from other groups such as Europeans, and this is the consequence of geographical isolation for a sufficient time. The racial classification within the homo sapiens species is therefore no more or less random than the racial subdivision within any other animal species.

Let us continue to argue against this, since invalidation has not been possible until now, as we have shown, to be scientifically supported.

       5. “Frequent confusion between race and species”

It deserves a point of discussion because it is very frequent especially within the homo sapiens species.

We all belong to the homo sapien species, and this species is subdivided into different populations or races, resulting from geographical isolation.

      6. “Arguments of authority”
It’s about convincing people that what they see with their eyes is not real, citing experts on the question supposed to have superior knowledge.

Answer: It is true that it is wise to rely on higher authorities when a subject exceeds us, this does not prevent to make his own idea by remaining in good faith, otherwise it is forbidden the right to think for oneself is to discredit the incredibly powerful ideological pressures exerted through this question. Much of the denial of the term race is intellectually dishonest, some scientists prefer the term “ethnicity” or “cluster” while the underlying reality remains exactly the same.

7. “The argument of the irrelevance of the concept of races”
The breed would be based on an obsolete concept, inherited from the colonial era.

Answer: There have always been false beliefs in science, in many areas, but that does not mean that we get rid of the entire branch studied. Physics allowed the Americans to develop the H bomb, many would like it to have never been so, rightly sometimes it is struggling but we have not managed to throw physics in the trash.
The Nazis have certainly truncated the concept of races so that it is more favorable to them, but in the same way, we truncate today science similarly by an ideology, certainly different.

    8. “The notion of race is a political and social construct that has no biological relevance”

Answer: We have already examined the question and shown that this argument was incorrect. The most ironic is without doubt that it is in fact the negation of the relevance of the races that is a political and social construction built in recent decades.

     9. Censorship
Answer: Insofar as arguments denying the relevance of the concept of race are quite easily removable, censorship of any discussion has been established. It is no longer a question of seeking the truth. The negation of human races has become a dogma, and counter arguments are not tolerated.

    10.« Good Intentions »

The denial of the concept of races is rightly denied because it is a question of combating racism.

Answer: This is an openly ideological argument, to which science should not even be accountable. At one time some were convinced that letting humanity know that the earth was not at the center of the universe could have dramatic consequences. In any case it is an ideological totalitarianism, it is not tolerable to camouflage or worse to pervert reality. As Goethe has said, “I prefer a disturbing truth to a useful mistake, the truth cures the harm it may have caused.” I will add to that the intolerable ideological pretense of some who thus grant themselves the right to decide what is to be known and who is to be censored, what is good and what is bad, one can speak of totalitarian drift.

     11. “Genes can be decisive for physical traits and susceptibilities to certain diseases, but not for mental traits”

Answer: If the process of natural selection influences the development of physiological systems such as the digestive system, immune system, cardiovascular system or endocrine system, why would the nervous system (mainly the brain) be free? Human cognition (brain function) is the most important feature that distinguishes us from other animals, and this may well be the biological system that most responds to adaptive demands. In fact, research has shown that the human brain continues to evolve. (Meckel-Bobrov et al., 2005, Evans et al., 2005) The proposition that the processes of evolution have occurred primarily on physical traits pushes mind-body dualism to an absurd limit. Moreover, and although this was largely under consideration until the late 1990s, it is now clearly accepted that there are genetic influences on personality and cognitive abilities. (Loehlin 1992, Pennington 2007)

     12. Lewontin’s argument
Lewontin R. (1974) argues that the probability of misclassifying an individual’s racial group by examining a single genetic locus is 30%. He concluded that such a measurement error could preclude the possibility of a genetic definition of the breed. This argument from Lewontin was very often used by sociologists to assert that there was no “white gene”, no “black gene” or no “Asian gene”.
Edwards (2003) refers to this statement: “a simplistic notion that ignores the possibility of analyzing several loci!” By analyzing several loci, the error approaches 0% and becomes negligible.
Cavali-Sforza also used the same process of analyzing several loci to define 9 large racial clusters. To do so, he analyzed several hundred polymorphisms. The idea of ​​this approach was precisely that clusters are not determined by one or a few polymorphisms, but rather by the correlation between large numbers of polymorphisms (this is the very notion of race or genetic cluster).

Once all these arguments have been stated and the interlocutor remains upright and scientifically sound, then there remains only …

(Insults, accusations, Nazism, racism without need for reflection, the argumentation became emotional and not rational)

6. The Genomic Revolution and Racial Ancestry

Begun in 1990, the “human genome project” ends in 2003 and allows the sequencing of the entire human genome. The sequenced dna pieces, however, come from different volunteers. It was not until 2007 that the first complete genome of a single person, the Nobel laureate James Watson, was decrypted1. From there, there has been an exponential reduction in the sequencing price.

The human genome project cost nearly $ 3 billion and required 13 years of work by a large international team. Today in 2016 many companies can sequence the entire genome for 1000 dollars from a simple saliva sample. It only takes 2 hours and is fully automated.

Example of the company “véritasgenetics” that offers to sequence your entire genome for 999 dollars.

Other companies offer cheaper services that simply sequence the variable parts of a genome, so-called polymorphisms. Focusing only on “interesting” parts of the genome reduces costs.

The best-known company is 23andme, a subsidiary of google, which offers this service for 149 dollars.

The analysis of 23andme makes it possible to determine predispositions to the diseases (alzheimer, psoriasis, cancer, obesity …) the physical traits, (colors of the eyes, color and texture of the hair, birth weight, size …) the answer drugs (antidepressants, betablockers, statins …) and most importantly, and this is what interests us, racial ancestry extremely accurately. It is thus the very validation of the notion of race, ie a “subdivision of a species that inherits characteristics distinguishing it from other populations of the species.” In the genetic sense, a race is a population that differs in the incidence of certain genes from other populations as a result of isolation, most often geographical “.

This genetic distinction (see image below) would obviously be impossible if there was no race and if the genes were randomly distributed in different populations, which is of course not the case. It is this difference that allows the differentiation of a genome according to racial ancestry.

Below, analysis of the genome of Lilly Mendel by the firm 23andme, mother of geneticist Grégor Mendel. His racial ancestry is obviously entirely European (99.9%).

genetic racial lilly mendel

This first analysis above is very global and determines the ascendance according to the main racial clusters. But the genetic analysis allows to be much more precise in the racial ancestry.

Below is a more detailed report of Lilly Mendel’s racial ancestry.

ascendance raciale génes 23andme

This kind of analysis would obviously be impossible if racial ancestry had no genetic and biological reality, as some ideologues assert.

Below is the genetic analysis of an Ashkenazi Jew, a particular European subgroup. The Ashkenazim are distinguished by their high average IQ, 110. With a population of about 10 million people (the number of inhabitants of Belgium) they represent 50% of the world chess champions, 50% of the champions of Bridge and almost a third of Nobel Prizes! This high Ashkenazi intelligence is obviously of hereditary origin. Genomic analyzes clearly show that Ashkenazi are a particular ethnic group.

juif ashkénaze genetique

7. Medication for each race?

A drug exclusively for Africans, the bidil.

“The news has had the effect of a bomb. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just given the green light, June 23, the launch of the first drug, exclusively for black Americans. BiDil (for bi-dilators) would significantly reduce the risk of death in African-American patients with advanced heart failure, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine: The debate on the advent of racialized medicine is launched. “

Let’s examine that more closely. How is this explained?
Simply because the metabolism of a drug is highly dependent on genetic factors.
As a result, it may well be, and it is the case here that an allelic frequency characteristic of a race promotes the efficacy of a drug. We also know that many drugs can be modulated according to race. Antihypertensives or antidepressants are less effective in black populations while they show increased efficiency in Asians.

The irony of positive discrimination.

Some schools have an admission policy based on the race of individuals, laws are passed to prevent discrimination based on race, and there are laws that “positively discriminate” immigrants based on their race. It would seem, then, that people use this term when it is in agreement with their interest.

The emergence of genetic tools to discover its biological roots.

The tools developed in the “Human Genome” project are now used for various purposes. For example, companies offer African-Americans the opportunity to identify their ancestral tribe (, bones discovered in a Russian farm have shown their links with the Romanov family, Thomas Jefferson has been identified as the father of a child of his slave Sally Hermings, and the National Geography Society offers genetic testing for anyone wishing to establish his maternal or paternal genetic links with the major migrations of prehistory (


The negation of the biological validity of racial classification in homo sapiens is ideological, and is likely a typical case of contemporary lyssekism. (As a reminder, Lysseko was the official scientist of the Soviet Union, instructed by the Party to tamper with his results to deny the importance of genetics and to establish communist views of malleability of man). As the honest man could intuitively “It is not true that racial classification does not have, or virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance, or that you can not predict someone’s race by its genes” (Edwards, Cambridge genetics professor, 2005, pp.800).

A Nature article dated 2013, “Ethics: Taboo Genetics” summarizes the situation. It explains that the study of racial differences in terms of intelligence and personality has become taboo for ideological reasons.

In a New York Times article of March 2018 that makes a lot of noise, David Reich, Harvard genetics professor, explains

“One may be concerned about possible misuse of data to justify racism, but as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore the average genetic differences between races.

Revolutionary advances in DNA sequencing technology have been made over the past two decades. This progress allows us to measure with perfect precision what fraction of the genetic ancestry of an individual goes back, for example, from West Africa. With the help of these tools, we learn that, while race can be a social construct, the differences in genetic ancestry that are correlated with many current racial constructions are very real.

Well-intentioned people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences between human populations curl up in an indefensible position, which will not survive the onslaught of science.

While most people agree that it is important to find genetic explanations for certain diseases, they are restive when it comes to genetic influences on behavior and cognition.

Is IQ, intelligence or number of years of education influenced by education? Of course. But does it also measure cognitive and behavioral characteristics? Almost certainly. And since all characters influenced by genetics differ from one population to another (since the frequencies of genetic variation are rarely identical from one population to another), genetic influences on behavior and cognition will also vary. one population to another.

You will sometimes hear that biological differences between populations are small, because humans have diverged too recently from common ancestors so that substantial differences have emerged under the pressure of natural selection. This is not true. The ancestors of East Asians, Europeans, Africans and Australians were, until recently, almost completely isolated from each other for 40,000 years or more, which is more than enough for the forces of the evolution can work.

In the years to come, genetic studies will show that many traits are influenced by genetic variation, and that these traits differ on average between human populations. It will be impossible – indeed, anti-scientific, silly and absurd – to deny these differences “

-David Reich, Harvard University, March 2018.

“Those who claim that there is no human race are obviously ignorant of modern biology.Races are not something specifically human, breeds are present in a high percentage of animal species”

-Ernst Mayr, 2002, (E. Mayr is considered the greatest biologist of 20th century evolution).

To go further, there is the excellent “Race”, 2012, written by John R. Baker, professor of biology at Oxford.

To know the details of the evolution of the racial differences in intelligence, see Evolution of the intellectual differences.

Références (non exhaustives)

« Sexes et races, deux réalités » Michel Raymond, Directeur de recherches au CNRS. Le Monde, 17 mai 2013.
« How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of Race » David Reich, professeur de génétique à Harvard, mars 2018.
« Race: a social destruction of a biological concept » Biol Philos, 2010.
« Taboo genetics » Nature, 2013.
« Race » (2012) Troisième édition de John R. Baker, professeur de biologie à Oxford.
Ernst Mayr (2002)The Biology of Race and the Concept of Equality