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History, History of Science, Science & Technology Studies

FRIAS project group "Roma, A Genetically Isolated Population?!"

Prof. Dr. Veronika Lipphardt; Prof. Dr. Anna Köttgen; Prof. Dr. Peter Pfaffelhuber; Dr. Fabian Staubach; Dr. Mihai Surdu; Anne-Christine Mupepele (all from the University of Freiburg)

Since 100 years, Roma have been a prominent example for “isolated populations” in human population genetics. Dozens of studies have explored the genetic structure and history of the so called Roma population. The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to analyse selected genetic studies of Roma with regard to their overall design (sampling strategies, data analysis, interpretation), their underlying assumptions, their ethical and societal implications and their impact in the public sphere. Our team brings together researchers from the life sciences, mathematics, medicine and the humanities for exploring alternative ways of approaching and interpreting Romarelated genetic data. This critical but constructive project aims to make a significant contribution to the debate on “genetically isolated” human populations, as well as to the multidisciplinary debate about the ethnic categories in biomedicine and the resulting problematic reifications of vulnerable populations.

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