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Anthropological Perspectives on the Human Genome Diversity Project

WGF Sponsored Conference 93-3 Group Photo

November 3-7, 1993
Seven Springs Center, Mt. Kisco, New York



Michael Blakey (Howard University, USA)
Luca L. Cavalli-Sforza (Stanford University, USA)
Robert Dewar (University of Connecticut, USA)
Henry Greely (Stanford University Law School, USA)
Henry Harpending (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Fatimah Jackson (University of Maryland, USA)
Alice Bee Kasakoff (University of South Carolina, USA)
Kenneth Kidd (Yale University School of Medicine, USA)
Barbara Mills (University of Arizona, USA)
John H. Moore, organizer (University of Florida, USA)
Alan Swedlund (University of Massachusetts, USA)
Emoke Szathmary (University of Western Ontario, Canada)
Sarah Thomason (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
Ryk Ward (University of Utah, USA)
Kenneth Weiss (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Mark Weiss (Wayne State University, USA)
John Yellen (National Science Foundation, USA)


The Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), an anthropological spin-off from the Human Genome Project, is in the process of clarifying its mission and goals and establishing an appropriate organization. At the same time, there has been growing criticism of the project among anthropologists. To consider the issues and criticisms at length, the Foundation brought together scholars from the four fields of anthropology and several members of the HGDP organizing committee. The conference discussed theoretical, methodological and ethical implications of the project's design and goals, ways in which some of these issues could be better approached, and the research opportunities the HGDP presents to the discipline. Among the wide-ranging topics touched upon were different sampling strategies, the validity of charges of theoretical or methodological bias, and the ethical responsibilities entailed in enlisting subject participation. While many misunderstandings were resolved, differences of opinion remained. The conference participants involved in steering the HGDP indicated their intention to address the issues raised in the discussions.