The online symposium – organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute – will be led by NHGRI Historian Christopher Donohue, Ph.D., and Oxford Brookes University Professor (and CENTRA partner) Marius Turda, Ph.D.

Eugenics and scientific racism are widely misunderstood despite their long histories. Studying and sequencing the human genome were supposed to help eliminate common misconceptions about the biological differences between humans. After all, we are 99.9% the same according to our DNA.

And yet, why do these misconceptions continue to persist, resulting in modern day discrimination and bias? We look to the history of science and medicine to help explain.

Since its inception, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has funded forward-thinking research on the historical study of eugenics and other misuses of genetics and genetic information. This includes the broader social, ethical and legal implications (ELSI) of genomics through NHGRI’s ELSI Research Program.

NHGRI has invited distinguished historians of science and medicine to speak at a two-day symposium that examines the history of eugenics and scientific racism and their complex legacies in the modern health sciences. In addition, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Museum of Natural History will present their own efforts on these topics and offer free educational and scholarly materials.


December 2-3, 2021

The event will be held in remote. Zoom registration:


Centre on the History of Racism and Antiracism in Modern Italy