Recent advances in genomic technology have prompted new, and resurrected age-old conversations and debates about the meanings, applications, and implications of “race” in the human species.
Although late 20th century genetics and genomics confirmed that our species is not divided into biological races, some scientific researchers continue to suggest the contrary, especially in biomedical disciplines without a close relationship to evolutionary/population genetics. Consequently, scholarly tensions and popular confusion persist. This raises the following questions:
The Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference (GRID) is a global initiative with a vision to inform and transform the conceptualization, use, and impact of race in science, medicine, and society. GRID is part of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) and is affiliated with the Department of African & African American Studies, Duke Initiative for Science & Society, and the Duke Global Health Institute. Race features prominently in the title of the center and is a focal point. Additionally, the work of GRID includes related forms of identity such as ancestry, ethnicity, tribe, and geographic and national classifications.
The mission of GRID is to develop and apply practical tools and dynamic strategies for understanding and addressing issues at the intersection of biological and social definitions of race in humans. The following interconnected goals guide the activities of GRID and embody the three core elements of Duke’s mission: