Complicando the Double Helix
In 2013, a study reported the discovery of the “hiding place” of 10 percent of DNA thought to be missing from the map of the human genome. Researchers used the genomes of Latina/o and other admixed populations to interpolate the locations of these twenty million missing base pairs. "Latino populations,” says a co-author of the study, “have a relatively distinctive gift to give.” They would presumably contribute to a genome mapping project whose scientific goals underscore advantages like disease eradication and new approaches to data analysis. Histories of colonialism and neoliberal policies imposed on this particular demographic, however, raise larger questions about the ultimate application of the findings. This chapter conjures up figures from history, science, mythology, literature, and music to highlight the potentials released by the discovery of this genetic New World “gold.”
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