Health and forensic databases may contribute to racial disparities

There is too little attention paid in national and international public policy circles to the digital divide in health and law enforcement databases, says a new article in this week's PLoS Medicine.

These are the conclusions of Peter Chow-White from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada and Troy Duster from University of California, Berkeley, USA who examined the question of whether the "digital divide" in health and forensic DNA databases is contributing to .

Over the last decade, the authors say, the majority of in population studies are from individuals of European origin and individuals from Asian, African, Latino, and aboriginal groups are underrepresented. As a result, the authors argue, "forensic DNA databases are growing to mirror racial disparities in arrest practices and incarceration rates. Racial disparities in forensic DNA databases between European and African American and Latino groups is inverted from health DNA databases."

More information: Chow-White PA, Duster T (2011) Do Health and Forensic DNA Databases Increase Racial Disparities? PLoS Med 8(10): e1001100. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001100

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

British Lords hold ten-hour debate on assisted dying

Jul 19, 2014

Members of Britain's unelected House of Lords spent almost ten hours on Friday discussing whether to legalise assisted dying, in an often emotional debate putting the question back on the agenda, if not on the statute books.

AbbVie, Shire agree on $55B combination

Jul 18, 2014

The drugmaker AbbVie has reached a deal worth roughly $55 billion to combine with British counterpart Shire and become the latest U.S. company to seek an overseas haven from tax rates back home.

Safety problems at US germ labs acknowledged

Jul 16, 2014

(AP)—The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Wednesday that systemic safety problems have for years plagued federal public health laboratories that handle dangerous ...

User comments