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The Genealogy of a GenePatents, HIV/AIDS, and Race$
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Myles W. Jackson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028660

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028660.001.0001

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Race, Place, and Pathogens

Race, Place, and Pathogens

(p.121) 7 Race, Place, and Pathogens
The Genealogy of a Gene

Myles W. Jackson

The MIT Press

The CCR5-Δ‎32 allele provides some of the most fascinating stories of the CCR5 gene. It became a focal point in the debate about allele frequencies and natural selection. Could those who are immune to AIDS have ancestors who were immune to the bubonic plague, smallpox, or Staphylococcus infection? How can historians collaborate with population geneticists and demographers to provide a richer history of medicine and biology and a clearer picture of the forces of natural selection? A history of CCR5-Δ‎32 is informative because it typifies how molecular biologists, population geneticists, biomedical researchers, and evolutionary biologists study alleles and mutations and determine which ones are present in various human populations. They key question is: should those populations be understood as races?

Keywords:   Δ‎32, natural selection, disease resistance, genes and race, HIV/AIDS, bubonic plague, National Institutes of Health

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