Assignment: Difference Due to Genetics

Assignment: Difference Due to Genetics

Because of “ the deliberate placement of polluting factories and toxic waste dumps in minority neighborhoods,” exposure to air pollutants and toxins is five to twenty times higher than in white neighborhoods with the same income levels.

Regardless of their socioeconomic status, African-Americans who live in segregated communities receive unequal medical care because hospitals serving them have less technology, such as imaging equipment, and fewer specialists, like those in heart surgery and cancer.

Genetics Genetics have been linked to many diseases, including diabetes, cancer, sickle-cell anemia, obesity, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, Tay-Sachs disease, schizophrenia, and Down syndrome. Currently, about 4,000 genetic disorders are known. Some genetic disorders are a result of a single mutated gene, and other disorders are complex, multifactorial or polygenic mutations. (Multifactorial means that the disease or disorder is likely to be associated with the effects of multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors.) Examples of multifactorial disorders are cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Although numerous studies have linked genetics to health, social and cultural factors play a role as well. For example, smoking may trigger a genetic predisposition to lung cancer, but that gene may not have been expressed if the person did not smoke.

There are concerns about relating genetics and health disparities because race is not truly biologically determined, so the relationship between genetics and race is not clear cut. There are more genetic differences within races than among them, and racial categories do not capture biological distinctiveness. Another problem with linking genetics to race is that many people have a mixed gene pool due to interracial marriages and partnerships. Also, it is difficult at times to determine which diseases are related to genetics and which are related to other factors, such as lifestyle and the environment.

Sometimes disease is caused by a combination of factors. For example, African Americans have been shown to have higher rates of hypertension than whites, but is that difference due to genetics? African Americans tend to consume less potassium than whites and have stress related to
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