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Jaime Jacob for Quartz
Genetics should not be used to put people in boxes.

DNA ancestry tests distort our view of race and humanity

Modern genetics should have obliterated the very concept of race.

The science, which crystallized in 2000 with the near completion of the first-ever entire sequencing of the human genome, has provided nearly indisputable proof that all humans are, in the big picture, identical. Approximately 99.9% of our genomes are uniform, and within the remaining fraction of a percent, there is no such thing as “black” or “white” DNA. Superficial qualities like skin, hair, and eye color indicate no significant biological differences.

And yet, the rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic ancestry tests has had almost the reverse effect. Through flashy advertising, these companies promote the idea that our DNA is capable of defining our identities. Unwittingly or not, they fuel an idea white supremacists have falsely propagated for centuries: that “race”—the concept that superficial attributes translate to actual biological differences—exists.

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