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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Prominent sociologist to discuss genetic discrimination at
URI’s Honors Colloquium, Oct. 8

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 30, 2002 -- Until recently, behavioral genetics had little to do with the human genome. However, this is beginning to change and likely to accelerate with the increased use of computers to assist in DNA analysis of large data sets or groups.

Sociologist Troy Duster will explore some of the emerging social and political implications of the profiles of "groups" with attributes related to performance – from intelligence tests to violent or criminal behavior– at the University of Rhode Island.

His talk "Human Molecular Genetics and the Subject of Race: Contrasting the Rhetoric with Practical Applications in Clinical Medicine and Forensics," will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in Room 271 of URI’s Chafee Social Science Center. Duster’s talk is sponsored by URI’s Multicultural Center. It is free and open to the public and part of URI’s Honors Colloquium Series "Genetic Technology and Public Policy in the New Millennium."

Duster is the Chancellor's Professor of Sociology and director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of California, Berkeley, and professor of sociology at New York University

He is a member of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research and has served as chair of the Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of the Human Genome Project.

Black Issues in Higher Education (December 23, 1999) said of Duster: "In his capacity as vice chair of the National Center for Human Genome Research on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues, he tackles some of the weightiest ethical and social issues surrounding the human genome and identification of genes that may contribute to disease."

Duster’s books and monographs include The Legislation of Morality, Aims and Control of the Universities, Cultural Perspectives on Biological Knowledge (co-edited with Karen Garrett), and Backdoor to Eugenics, a book on the social implications of the new technologies in molecular biology.

He has also the authored numerous articles, most recently "The Social Consequences of Genetic Disclosure Culture and Biology," which was published in a major report to the Office of Energy Research, Office of Health and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy entitled "Pathways and Barriers to Genetic Testing and Screening: Molecular Genetics Meets the High-Risk Family."

Major sponsors for the colloquium series are the University of Rhode Island Honors Program, The Providence Journal, The URI Foundation, Theta Chi Fraternity, the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, and the President’s Office. Additional sponsors include URI’s Offices of the Provost and the dean of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, Student Entertainment Committee, the John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, the URI Alumni Association, the Division of Advancement and Matritech.

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 401-874-2116

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