Mestizo Genomics: Race Mixture, Nation, and Science in Latin America

Peter Wade, Carlos López Beltrán (Editor), Eduardo Restrepo (Editor), Ricardo Ventura Santos (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthologypeer-review


In genetics laboratories in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, scientists have been mapping the genomes of local populations, seeking to locate the genetic basis of complex diseases and trace population histories. As part of their work, geneticists often calculate the European, African and Amerindian genetic ancestry of populations and some scientists link their findings explicitly to questions of national identity, racial-ethnic difference and (anti-)racism, bringing their science to bear on issues of politics and identity.Based on research in the labs and beyond, this book explores how the concepts of ‘race’, ethnicity, nation and gender enter into genomics and asks whether these concepts are reproduced, challenged and/or reformulated. The authors link current genomics to recent moves towards official multiculturalism in these countries and trace the implications of geneticized images of the nation for citizenship and social inclusion/exclusion.This is one of the first studies to examine the interrelations between ‘race’, identity and genomics in Latin America, where national identities are based frequently based on ideas about mestizaje (race mixture), rather than racial division. As mestizaje is said to involve relations between European men and indigenous or African women, gender appears powerfully in Latin American genomics.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDurham NC
PublisherDuke University Press
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Race, Genetics, Mestizaje, Latin America


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