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In the United States both scholars and the general public have been conditioned to viewing human races as natural and separate divisions within the human species based on visible physical differences With the vast expansion of scientific knowledge in this century however it has become clear that human populations are not unambiguous clearly demarcated biologically distinct groups Evidence from the analysis of genetics eg DNA indicates that most physical variation about 94 lies within so-called racial groups Conventional geographic racial groupings differ from one another only in about 6 of their genes This means that there is greater variation within racial groups than between them In neighboring populations there is much overlapping of genes and their phenotypic physical expressions Throughout history whenever different groups have come into contact they have interbred The continued sharing of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species Physical variations in any given trait tend to occur gradually rather than abruptly over geographic areas And because physical traits are inherited independently of one another knowing the range of one trait does not predict the presence of others For example skin color varies largely from light in the temperate areas in the north to dark in the tropical areas in the south its intensity is not related to nose shape or hair texture Dark skin may be associated with frizzy or kinky hair or curly or wavy or straight hair all of which are found among different indigenous peoples in tropical regions These facts render any attempt to establish lines of division among biological populations both arbitrary and subjective Historical research has shown that the idea of race has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences indeed physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them Today scholars in many fields argue that race as it is understood in the United States of America
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