THE POLICY MANDATE to actively include ethnic and racial minorities in all scientific research has been increasingly incorporated as a standard for research involving human subjects in the United States.1 Accordingly, communicating and thinking in a multiracial, race-positive idiom has become a norm for the field. But how do individual scientists put these broader norms into everyday practice in their labs and projects? How do their personal moral convictions shape the ways in which they construct and use sample taxonomies?
One inclusionary campaign stemming from one of the first whole-genome analyses of African American and Latino men provides interesting answers to these questions. In 2008, Life Technologies’ Francisco De La Vega and Stanford University’s Carlos Bustamante set out to study patterns of admixture in two underrepresented American groups with the hope that their research would usher in a new focus on “the contribution of native American genetic variants to the disease burden in the Americas of today.”2 Bustamante, a Venezuelanborn recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award, rebuked the field saying, “One of the reasons that researchers say they study White populations is that they’re easier to study, they’re more homogeneous, blah-blah-blah…. But, it’s really that they haven’t really done enough to engage minority populations.”3 From 2009 to 2010, these researchers partnered with other California scientists to successfully petition the 1000 Genomes Project to include the DNA of five hundred African Americans from the southwestern and southeastern United States,