Racial bias found in genomics databases

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New research indicates two top genomic databases reflect a measurable bias toward data based on European ancestry over data based on African ancestry. The study was published in Nature Communications.

Researchers identified a deficit in genomic data reflecting African ancestry in an 18-month study. Researchers created a non-European genome data set using genetic samples of 642 individuals from the African diaspora and compared it to current databases. Their comparison showed current databases reflect more European gene variants, which inhibits the accuracy of precision medicine when applied to non-European individuals.

"If an African-American patient gets genetic testing, the variants that turn up and the disease risks they're tied to could be much less accurate than if someone of European descent does the same thing," according to STAT.

The authors conclude genetic databases should include a broader range of ancestries to produce more accurate medical diagnoses based on genetics.

More articles on genomics:

Researchers discover gene that correlates with increased ear infection risk in children
Study shows precision medicine treatment can lengthen survival in advanced cancer patients
University of Michigan School of Public Health joins Precision Medicine Initiative

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