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Néstor Ruiz Hernández has been fighting for recognition for decades. He grew up in a town near the Pacific coast of southern Mexico, where he and many others trace their ancestry to enslaved people brought across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa in the sixteenth century. They consider themselves Afromexican, but the group is not officially recognized by the Mexican government as a minority ethnic group. If it were, community members might receive government funding for cultural and public-health programmes. As it stands, they’re ignored.

Then in 2015, Ruiz Hernández met María Ávila, a population geneticist at Stanford University in California. Ávila wanted to analyse the DNA of people from Afromexican communities in Veracruz, Guerrero and Oaxaca states to identify the extent of their African ancestry. The project would prove challenging. When Ávila approached community members, she noticed that many couldn’t read or write — and not everyone identified as Afromexican. So she had to think carefully about how to report findings back to them.

…continue reading ‘Facing Up To Injustice in Genome Science’

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Nature

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