Mapping the intersection between self-identification and genetics

In order to improve analysis for disease association studies, matching for transplant, and data collection for population studies, our group has been investigating and assessing alternative approaches to measuring self-identified race and ethnicity, by direct comparison of ancestry survey responses with genetic ancestry defined by HLA variation in a very large (N>100,000) cohort. Despite its clear importance, contention over racial and ethnic definitions and the role of genetics in social science research has resulted in limited interdisciplinary work examining how individuals self-identify. This ongoing collaborative research represents the first interdisciplinary investigation of this subject, synergizing contemporary knowledge in human genetic variation with modern methods of survey research and demography.