The relationships between race, genetics, and health is complex but all three factors can help explain incidents of illness. Genetics is an inevitable part of every single human on this Earth. We inherit genes from our parents and at this time, no one can change/prevent ill-bearing genes from being passed down generations. According to the lecture, in the case of the Pima Indianas, 4 major genetic events happened, leading to a major illnes (diabetes) being linked to a certain race. Natural selecton allowed individuals with a genetic mutation to reproduce more passing the mutation to their children. Genetic limited was limited due to the fact the Pima people lived in a tight-knit population. Gene flow was then allowed to be passed down to the current day individuals, with the majority having the mutation. These genetics events cause ethnic groups to be linked to certain diseases. Health is also a factor that can lead to ethnic linked illnesses. Typically ethnic groups tend to follow the same patterns as previous generations. Diet, lifestyle choices, etc. are just a few examples of health related choices that ethnic groups tend to partake in, generally passing the same choices down to their children.
I wanted to study the incidence of cystic fibrosis and which ethnic group it affected the most. I found that Caucasians have the highest incidence of inheriting the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. According to Kids Health, “In the United States today about 1 of every 3,600 Caucasian children is born with CF. This compares with 1 of every 17,000 African Americans and only 1 of every 90,000 Asian Americans.” Researchers have yet to discover the exact gene that causes CF and currently there are 1,400 genes that have been linked to CF. Above I have attached a graph that depicts the ratios the prevalence of CF of different ethnic groups. It’s hard to say at this point why Caucasians have higher incidents of CF. But, with continued research scientists may be able to link health related issues that can be a contributor to the likeliness of inheriting CF.
“Cystic Fibrosis” Kids Health, accessed on May 28, 2015. http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/digestive/cf.html#