Question of the Day

Is there more genetic variation between human races or within human races?



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Per the college textbook "Principles of Genetics," "most of the genetic variation in the human species--perhaps 85 to 95 percent of it--is within rather than between populations." Likewise, the teaching guide "Human Genetic Variation" explains that "research results consistently demonstrate that about 85 percent of all human genetic variation exists within human populations, whereas about only 15 percent of variation exists between populations. ... Ongoing investigation of human genetic variation has even led biologists and physical anthropologists to rethink traditional notions of human racial groups. The amount of genetic variation between these traditional classifications actually falls below the level that taxonomists use to designate subspecies, the taxonomic category for other species that corresponds to the designation of race in Homo sapiens. This finding has caused some biologists to call the validity of race as a biological construct into serious question."

DocumentationRace & Science