NDSU Community Lecture to focus on impact of genetic ancestry testing

NDSU Community Lecture to focus on impact of genetic ancestry testing

Sociologist Wendy D. Roth is set to present the annual Community Lecture, sponsored by the NDSU College of Science and Mathematics. Roth’s presentation, “The Social Impact of Genetic Ancestry Testing,” is scheduled Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre.

Genetic ancestry testing has quickly become a billion-dollar industry. More than 12 million tests have been sold as people try to learn what their genes can tell them about their origins.

Roth’s research focuses on the social impact of taking genetic ancestry tests – on people’s understanding of what race is, on their ethnic and racial identities, their racial interactions and their attitudes toward people in different groups.

“I will discuss my research that illustrates how people pick and choose new identities they like from their test results, how certain groups change their identities more than others after testing and how the influence these tests have on people’s understandings of race depends on their knowledge of science,” she said.

Roth is an associate professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia. She earned her doctorate in sociology and social policy from Harvard University.

She is a sociologist of race, ethnicity and immigration, with interests in Latino and multiracial populations, the multiple dimensions of race and intersections of race and genomics. Her book, “Race Migrations: Latinos and the Cultural Transformation of Race,”examines how immigration changes cultural concepts of race.

She is chair-elect of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities. Roth has received several awards for her research, including the ASAA Outstanding Dissertation Award, Canadian Sociological Association Early Career Scholar Award and a UBC Killam Faculty Research Fellowship. Her recent research was published in the American Journal of Sociology.

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