Commentary| Volume 25, ISSUE 7, 100860, July 2023

The value of intersectionality for genomic research on human behavior

  • Lucas J. Matthews
    Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to Lucas J. Matthews, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, Herbert Pardes Building, 1051 Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10032
    Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY

    The Hastings Center, Garrison, New York, NY
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  • Daphne O. Martschenko
    Department of Pediatrics, Stanford Medicine, Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
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  • Maya Sabatello
    Department of Medicine, Center for Precision Medicine and Genomics, Columbia University, New York, NY

    Division of Ethics, Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics, Columbia University, New York, NY
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Published:April 20, 2023DOI:
      Since conception, research into the genetics of human behavior has generated controversy. Too often, behavioral genetics has been used to justify racism, classism, sexism, and ableism and to reinforce existing sociopolitical disparities in wealth, health, and education. Whether to conduct such research, how its scope ought to be affected by sociopolitical concerns, and what its implications are for individuals, communities, and society at large, have all captivated scholarly attention. Central to these debates are worries that emphasis on the genetic underpinnings of behavior will distract from important environmental or structural factors (eg, systemic inequities) that play crucial roles in human behavioral development.


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