Genetics of You & Your Neighbor: Exploring Differences
I’m sure that everyone over the age of 13 has filled out an application and reached the question: ‘How do you identify yourself?’ Given five blank boxes, you are expected to select your ‘race’. However, did you know that there is no gene in human DNA that codes for race? The Human Genome project showed that all humans have 99.9% similarity in their DNA, leaving only 1% of variation among people. This means that an ‘Asian’ and ‘White’ male would both have similar DNA profiles. So why do we all look so different and unique?
The origin of life is known to be from Ethiopia, and as the Earth became more populated, humans migrated and settled in other areas. Over time as this happened, people evolved and adapted to their environment (ie. People living closer to the equator in Southern India produce more melanin skin pigment for protection from the sun, as opposed to Russians who live far North of the equator). How we look is a reflection of our environment. Therefore, when we look around and see the many unique characteristics that make people different, we are actually witnessing genetic variation. The phenotypic (outward expression) of genes is based on geography as humans are constantly adapting to their environment.
These facts then conclude that race is not a biological classification, but a human social construct. All humans are biologically one, and the ‘race’ we are is the human race. If there were genes that indicated race, that would suggest that within humans, there are different species – which is not the case. The myth of race has not served humanity well and has allowed for separations to be made based on outward differences. Man is the only animal that teaches racism, and the system is flawed. Diversity adds beauty to our world, and though we are all different on the surface; we are ultimately the same. Parts of one whole.
So, what does this all mean? No two people are the same, nor are they very different. The genetic variation that makes us all unique shows the creative hand of God. All humans are more similar than different, and this fact is what makes the world special. We should love the things that make us stand apart from our neighbor, while remembering that no one look is superior over another. Embrace uniqueness without separation!
1 Corinthians 12:14-18 – ‘Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many… And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.’