Campus Reform | Biden taps Princeton prof for science team. She has an idea on how gov't can use DNA.

Biden taps Princeton prof for science team. She has an idea on how gov't can use DNA.

President Joe Biden appointed a professor who wrote a book explaining that DNA can be used to determine reparations eligibility.

The Princeton professor will have an important role in advising Biden on science policy.

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Among the members of President Joe Biden's science team is a professor who wrote a book explaining how genetics could be used to determine reparations eligibility.

Alondra Nelson, who teaches in Princeton University’s sociology department, wrote a book entitled The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome in 2016. 

In it, she argues that DNA could be used as a basis for determining slavery reparations.

According to the book’s description, Nelson argues that “genetic genealogy is a new tool for addressing old and enduring issues.” Cutting-edge biotechnology can help with “grappling with the unfinished business of slavery,” which includes fostering reconciliation, establishing ties to “African ancestral homelands,” and to “rethink and sometimes alter citizenship.”

However, the book also argues that DNA can support “legal claims for slavery reparations specifically based on ancestry.”

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“This is a moment where genetic technology is being used for an endeavor that many African-Americans had tried to accomplish for decades and generations: reparations,” explained Nelson in a 2016 podcast interview with NPR. “And they're using genetic technology which has not always historically been a friend to Black communities if we think about the legacy of eugenics for example. And they're using this to try to get freedom and restitution for Black people.”

The Biden administration appointed Nelson as the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Deputy Director for Science and Society. 

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The OSTP is a White House office that advises the president on the “scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security, homeland security, health, foreign relations, and the environment."

For the first time in American history, Biden announced he would elevate the director of the OSTP to a Cabinet-level position. 

Campus Reform reached out to Nelson for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft