Even at the Cellular Level, Ancestry Matters (UF News)

Even at the Cellular Level, Ancestry Matters

Diseases impact different populations with varying prevalence, which is reflected in health disparities that are seen for illnesses like lupus, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. To create effective medical treatments, researchers need representative population samples.

Even though disease impacts everybody, medical research samples are often not representative of diverse populations.

In a new article published by Nature, UF professors Erika Moore, Josephine Allen, and Connie Mulligan argue it is imperative to consider ancestry in cell samples for medical research because ancestral differences are present in many diseases. Ancestry typically refers to biological or genetic characteristics, but sociocultural factors, such as language and family history, also impact ancestry. The authors argue that accounting for a person’s ancestry will improve the effectiveness of treatment for patients of all backgrounds.

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