Genetic roots and ethnic characteristics have previously been found to strongly influence the susceptibility, likelihood and specifics of the development of type 2 diabetes . Some ethnic groups are widely known to be at a greater risk of becoming diabetic than others. However, a new piece of research indicates that defining race in order to study genetic triggers of type 2 diabetes is an inexact science, clouded by social and historical factors.
The study was conducted by a UC, Irvine Anthropologist called Michael Montoya. His study calls into question the methods by which race-specific information is collected, translated and presented to the public. To gain his conclusions, Montoya examined the work of biomedical researchers throughout England and the USA.
Montoya, who is an assistant professor, reportedly said: “Although it’s true that certain ethnic groups have higher rates of diabetes, our social understanding of race is grafted into the scientific research. Therefore, research that presumes race is biological may confuse matters instead of improving our understanding of the causes of chronic diseases like diabetes.”
He reportedly concluded: “Unfortunately, looking for genetic factors that influence diabetes in ethnic groups ignores the social factors like poverty and access to health care that have a much stronger correlation to the rates of diabetes among certain groups. And if we don’t understand that those groups are not biological, we will look for biological explanations for their disease rates when we should be looking for social ones.”

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