Does Your Family’s Story Match Its DNA? – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Does Your Family’s Story Match Its DNA?

Fisher Center Lecturer Speaks on Genetic Heredity and Social Change

Is DNA the new personal memory bank? Is the heredity of our family's past a forecast for how we'll view memory in the future?

On Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room, the Fisher Center’s second Spring 2008 lecturer will begin to answer these and other related questions. Duke University's Associate Research Professor of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy Charmaine Royal will present “Genomics and Ancestry: Implications For Social Identity and Social Justice,” on the scientific, medical and social impacts of human genetics and genomics — the study of an organism's hereditary information, including both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA.

Royal, an expert on the genomic ancestry's potential role in social justice and the challenging issues that arise when social identity is traced by genomics, has focused her research on questions such as What happens to personal memory (memories of you and family genealogy) when genomic codes reveal ancestral lineage either coincident with — or contrary to — family lore? What happens to social histories of race and social identity?

In an attempt to highlight some of these issues relevant to social identity and social justice and to help provide frameworks for assessing them, Royal's presentation will focus on the application of genetics and genomics in genomic ancestry testing and in health disparities research.

Author and co-author of numerous publications, Royal has published most recently “Race and Ethnicity in Science, Medicine, and Society, “The Ethical and Social Implications of Exploring African American Genealogies, Genetic and Social Environment Interactions and Their Impact on Health Policy, and “The Role of Genetic and Sociopolitical Definitions of Race in Clinical Trials.

The morning after Royal's lecture, a roundtable talk will begin at 9 a.m. in Demarest 212, The Fisher Center.