Ancestry & Diversity Forum (12/06): "Getting Genetic Ancestry Right for Science and Society" (Anna Lewis)

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Alice B Popejoy

Dec 2, 2021, 9:15:30 AM12/2/21
to,,,, humgen Sympa List,,, HPRC-All Consortium, joy_lab Sympa List,, Anna Lewis

Greetings Colleagues,


On Monday, December 6th @ 9am PT / 11am CT / 12pm ET the ClinGen Ancestry & Diversity Forum is delighted host the following presentation and discussion:


"Getting Genetic Ancestry Right for Science and Society"



Who? Anna Lewis (pictured above) is a research associate at Harvard's E J Safra Center for Ethics, where she works on the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomics. She is also a member of the Genomes2People research program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Originally trained as a computational biologist, and previously employed in the genetics industry, her ELSI work is deeply rooted in scientific and technical developments.


What? The concept of genetic ancestry is rising in importance both within and outside of genetics. Within genetics we worry that polygenic risk scores have differential performance by ancestry. And across biomedicine, as the use of race as a biological variable is exposed and critiqued, many propose turning to genetic ancestry to understand human biological difference. Unfortunately, the dominant conceptualization of genetic ancestry is of continental ancestry categories. This is an oversimplification of the science. And it is a dangerous oversimplification because of the striking resemblance of continental ancestry categories to racial categories. At this moment when various stakeholders are looking to genetics to help us move beyond biologically understood race, genetics needs to move beyond continental ancestry categories.  


When? Monday, December 6th @ 9am PT / 11am CT / 12pm ET


Where? Zoom (Link:


~ ~ ~

What is the Ancestry & Diversity Forum? The ClinGen Ancestry and Diversity Forum brings together scholars, students, professionals, and members of the public to discuss topics related to diversity in genomics research and medicine. The goal of the Forum is to provide transparency and a mechanism of engagement with the ClinGen Ancestry &Diversity Working Group (ADWG) as this body works toward the development of recommendations and guidelines for diversity measures. Highlighted speakers have focused on methods of group classification, from clustering by genetic ancestry to stratification by socio-cultural categories such as ‘race’ and/or ‘ethnicity’. At any time, you can watch recordings of previous talks on the ClinGen Ancestry & Diversity Forum YouTube playlist


Discussions are open to all participants, and are guided by a moderator toward the scientific, ethical, legal, and social implications of how diversity frameworks can and should (or should not) be used in both clinical and research genetics settings. 


We encourage guest speakers from diverse personal, professional, and academic backgrounds, and welcome volunteers as well as nominations for future speakers. Please contact us with requests to join the Forum listserv, volunteer and/or nominate someone to present.


Who May Attend? Anyone!


How to Attend?   Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 988 9480 1675
Passcode: 091919

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Alice B. Popejoy, PhD

Assistant Professor, Division of Epidemiology


Department of Public Health Sciences

University of California, Davis

One Shields Avenue

Medical Sciences 1C

Davis, CA  95616



Twitter @AlicePopejoy

Tel +1 (916) 837-2951




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