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NIH hosts roundtable on potential concerns of social and behavioral genomics

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health will host a virtual roundtable to discuss social and behavioral genetics and genomics, including their benefits, limitations and potential for misuse.


Social genomics is a field of emerging research that suggests scientists can use genomic variation to understand complex social behavior. Panelists will discuss genetics and genomics studies that may be stigmatizing as well as strategies for scientists to combat misinformation and disinformation. 

While many promise that the study of genomic variants can help us better understand ourselves and our world, others are concerned that recent scientific developments have helped fuel the rise of harmful ideologies, such as white supremacy and antisemitism.

The scientific community must consider whether the misappropriation of genetic evidence has played any role in mass casualty events and other forms of extremist violence. The panel will address how the history of scientific racism and eugenics in genetics and genomics may limited the scientific community’s capacity to respond decisively to the misuse and misappropriation of scientific data.

The news media has also called these avenues of inquiry into question. A recent news feature explores the complex and fraught connections between eugenics, scientific racism, genetics and genomics. Now more than ever, scientists and scholars must understand these connections to safeguard human health and safety.

The event is free and open to the public. Follow #NHGRIevents on social media for more information. 


  • Daniel Benjamin, professor, Anderson School of Management and David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Rina Bliss, associate professor at Rutgers University and author of Race Decoded: The Genomic Fight for Social Justice
  • Daphne Martschenko, assistant professor, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
  • Melinda Mills, professor, University of Oxford and Nuffield College
  • Alexandra Minna Stern, dean of humanities, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Erik Parens, senior research scholar, The Hastings Center 


Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2022, 1 p.m. EST 

About NHGRI and NIH

About the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI): At NHGRI, we are focused on advances in genomics research. Building on our leadership role in the initial sequencing of the human genome, we collaborate with the world's scientific and medical communities to enhance genomic technologies that accelerate breakthroughs and improve lives. By empowering and expanding the field of genomics, we can benefit all of humankind. For more information about NHGRI and its programs, visit www.genome.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Press Contact

NHGRI Press Office
Email: nhgripressoffice@mail.nih.gov
Phone: (301) 402-0911

Request an Accommodation

This event will be presented with real-time captioning. American Sign Language interpreting services are available upon request. Individuals who need interpreting services and/or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event should contact NHGRIPressOffice@mail.nih.gov or the NIH Interpreting Office directly at nih@ainterpreting.com. Requests should be made at least five business days in advance in order to ensure interpreter availability.

Last updated: January 11, 2023