Narrating ethnicity and diversity in Middle Eastern national genome projects.
Soc Stud Sci
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Burton, E. (2018). Narrating ethnicity and diversity in Middle Eastern national genome projects.. Soc Stud Sci, 48 (5), 762-786. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312718804888
Most Middle Eastern populations outside Israel have not been represented in Western-based international human genome sequencing efforts. In response, national-level projects have emerged throughout the Middle East to decode the Arab, Turkish and Iranian genomes. The discourses surrounding the 'national genome' that shape scientists' representation of their work to local and international audiences evoke three intersecting analytics of nationalism: methodological, postcolonial and diasporic. Methodologically, ongoing human genome projects in Turkey and Iran follow the population logics of other national and international genome projects, for example justifying research with reference to projected health benefits to their fellow citizens. Meanwhile, assumptions about and representations of ethnicity and diversity are deeply inflected by local histories of scientific development and nationalist politics. While Iranian geneticists have transformed this paradigm to catalog national genetic diversity through a discourse of 'Iranian ethnicities', Turkish geneticists remain politically constrained from acknowledging ethnic diversity and struggle to distance their work from racialized narratives of Turkish national identity. Such nationally-framed narratives of genomic diversity are not confined to their original contexts, but travel abroad, as demonstrated by a US-based genome project that articulates a form of Iranian-American diasporic nationalism.
Humans, Genomics, Genome, Human, Politics, Ethnic Groups, Iran, Turkey, Genetic Variation
Social Science Research Council (USA) Harvard University (USA)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312718804888
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/285372