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Keywords:

  • genomics;
  • public health;
  • ethnography;
  • race;
  • environment

We introduce this special issue of Medial Anthropology Quarterly on public health genomics by exploring both the unique contribution of ethnographic sensibility that medical anthropologists bring to the study of genomics and some of the key insights offered by the essays in this collection. As anthropologists, we are concerned with the power dynamics and larger cultural commitments embedded in practices associated with public health. We seek to understand, first, the broad significance of genomics as a cultural object and, second, the social action set into motion as researchers seek to translate genomic knowledge and technology into public health benefits.