Biologists have known for a long time that gene expression is complex and DNA does not determine biology, let alone other characteristics of physical and mental health, behavior and intelligence. Nevertheless, over the years, thedeterministic model that genes alone define biology has become enshrined as the prevailing paradigm. This dogma was manifested on a large scale in the pursuit of the Human Genome Project. Why do scientists, with the full knowledge that various aspects of the cellular machinery and the environment work in cohort, continue to apply and propagate the DNA mantra? The motivations may be many, but chief among them is the simplicity of the "DNA is everything" model, and the outside commercial and scientific incentives available for such a focus. The application of DNA ideology has led to a problematic construction of race, sexuality, and intelligence, as seen through a lens of genetic determinism and has fostered the belief that for each of us our physical and mental well-being are pre-programmed and reflect the composition of our individual DNA. This scientific interpretation enhances a sense of inevitability and forecloses efforts at promoting social justice by presenting them as futile.

The following briefs on genetic determinism and how it relates to sexual orientation, race and intelligence were completed by the CRG working group on genetic determinism in May 2006 and appear along with extensive annotated bibliographies.


Report on Race and Genetic Determinism


Brief on Genetic Determinism and Sexual Orientation
Brief on Genetic Determinism and Race
Brief on Genetic Determinism and Intelligence


Sexual Orientation Bibliography
Race Bibliography
Intelligence Bibliography

Position Papers

Do Genes Determine Whether We are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Straight?, Position Paper by The Council for Responsible Genetics


The Myth of the "Athlete" Gene, by David Epstein, Sports Illustrated, May 2010

Predictive Testing: A Pandora's Box by Sujatha Byravan, India Together, Dec. 2009

It's in our Genes. So What? by Sharon Begely, Newsweek, November 2009

Where are the Genes? by Richard Lewontin, GeneWatch, May 2009 

BiDil: False Promises
by Jonathan Kahn, GeneWatch, Nov-Dec 2005

The Fallacy of Racial Medicine by Richard Lewontin, GeneWatch, Jul-Aug 2005

The New Racial Economy by Evan Balaban, GeneWatch, Jul-Aug 2005

"Is Crime in the Genes?" in The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope by Jay Joseph, 2004

The Rise and Fall of Systems Biology by Stuart Newman, GeneWatch, Jul-Aug 2003

The DNA Era by Richard Lewontin, GeneWatch, Jul-Aug 2003

Unraveling the Secret of Life by Barry Commoner, GeneWatch, May-Jun 2003



Is Race "Real?"
A web forum organized by the Social Science Resource Council.

GeneWatch: Current Issue
Lobbying and propaganda around gene drive technologies threaten to erode public trust in science. By Christophe Bo√ęte
Review of the film A Dangerous Idea: Eugenics, Genetics and the American Dream. By Jaydee Hanson
Book review: Making Sense of Genes by Kostas Kampourakis. By Stuart A. Newman
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