Genetic Testing in a Diverse World

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Genetic results: Does Race matter?


The population of the world is physically, ethnically, and culturally diverse. This diversity is important to how people may or may not benefit from genetic information. For example, in the U. S. rates of participation in genetic research and use of genetic testing varies between self-identified African Americans (i.e., individuals who identify themselves as having recent ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa) and European Americans (i.e., individuals who identify themselves as having recent ancestors from Europe). These differences are thought to be caused by financial access to healthcare, socioeconomic status, and overall trust in medicine. The use of genetic tests and meaning of genetic test results vary between individuals, and are affected by different ideas about family, time, and spirituality.


African Americans are the largest group of U. S. racial minorities. People who identify as African American come from all walks of life. There are many regional and local differences between African Americans that reflect differences in experience and beliefs.


Studies show that many African Americans want results and benefits from genetics. But as a group, they have also experienced unequal access to health care and medical treatment and continue to face discrimination and bias in health care. This has contributed to distrust of health care and research as a barrier to accessing benefits of learning genetic information.

The My46 team is committed to working with patients, participants in research studies, community experts, and researchers to help everyone make informed decisions about managing genetic information for themselves, their families, and communities. We work with an advisory committee of experts to better tailor My46 to the diverse contexts of people’s lives, on an on-going basis. We seek to incorporate best practices in cultural competence through out the site and supporting services.

My46 is an innovative web-based tool that enables individuals to manage their own genetic testing results.

Your genome is your entire genetic code or all of the DNA in a cell.

What My46 Means

Most human cells have 46 chromosomes that provide the genetic instructions for a body to live, grow, and develop.

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