The emergence of human population genetics and narratives about the formation of the Brazilian nation (1950-1960)

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open access
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Article
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2014
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Elsevier
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Universidade Estadual do Centro-Oeste, Paraná, Brasil
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sérgio Arouca. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil / Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Museu Nacional. Departamento de Antropologia. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
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This paper discusses the emergence of human population genetics in Brazil in the decades following World War II, and pays particular attention to narratives about the formation of the Brazilian nation. We analyze the institutionalization of this branch of genetics in the 1950s and 1960s, and look at research on the characteristics of the population of Brazil, which made use of new explanatory models of evolutionary dynamics. These developments were greatly influenced by the activities of the Rockefeller Foundation and by the presence of North American geneticists in Brazil, especially Theodosius Dobzhansky. One of the main points of this paper is to show that explanations of Brazilian human genetic diversity constructed in the mid-twentieth century closely followed interpretations that had been produced since the end of the nineteenth century, in which notions of 'racial mixing' played a central role. Even as population genetics was conditioned by nationalist concerns that had long marked Brazilian history, we argue that its emergence and institutionalization was closely associated with global, post-World War II socio-political contexts, especially with regards to modernization projects and growing scientific internationalization.
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Brasil, Genética Humana, Variação genética, Pesquisa em Genética, Teoria da Evolução
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Pesquisa em Genética, Brasil, Variação genética, Genética Humana, Antropologia Física
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SOUZA, Vanderlei Sebastião de ; SANTOS, Ricardo Ventura. The emergence of human population genetics and narratives about the formation of the Brazilian nation (1950-1960). Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, v. 47, p. 97-107, 2014.
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1879-2499
DOI
10.1016/j.shpsc.2014.05.010
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