• genetic discrimination;
  • human genetic variation;
  • race and genetics;
  • racism

The effect of messages about genetics on lay audiences was assessed through an experimental study that exposed participants (n = 96) to a Public Service Announcement about race, genes, and heart disease. Participants who received a message that specified either ‘Whites’ or ‘Blacks’ as the subject of the message demonstrated elevated levels of racism, genetic basis for racism, and one dimension of genetic discrimination as compared to those receiving a version of the message with no race specification or in a no-message control condition. The presentation of such messages to the public is not recommended until additional research clarifies this finding and perhaps describes mitigating vocabularies or approaches.