Methods and Context
The texts below give a very brief outline of (a) the scope of research in genetics
and especially human population genetics in each country; and (b) the range of
work undertaken by the project team in each country. The case studies presented
in chapters 4–6 represent only particular aspects of that range of work.
Genetics Research in Brazil
Michael Kent and Ricardo Ventura Santos
In Brazil, human population genetics is a well-established academic field that
has been growing steadily since the 1950s (Salzano 2011). At present, there are
twenty-six state-recognized postgraduate programs in genetics, twenty-one of
which include a PhD. The vast majority of these programs are located in public
universities. The yearly conference of the Sociedade Brasileira de Genética nor-
mally attracts between 3,000 and 4,000 delegates. Research is mostly conducted
with public funds, in particular via capes and cnpq, the two main federal re-
search councils, as well as the research councils of individual states in Brazil.
There are high levels of internationalization, with much collaboration with re-
search groups in other countries of Latin America, the United States, and Eu-
rope, as well as many publications in international journals.
Due to the size of the genetic field in Brazil, we chose to concentrate our atten-
tion on human population genetics, and in particular on research that explores
the ancestry and formation of Brazilian populations. This area of genetics in it-
self constitutes a relatively large and autonomous field. Research on the genetic
constitution of the Brazilian population has gained high levels of public visibility
in the past decade (see chapters 1 and 4).
We identified three laboratories of particular importance. These laboratories
are located, respectively, at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (ufmg) in
Belo Horizonte, coordinated by Sérgio Pena; at the Universidade Federal do Rio
Grande do Sul (ufrgs) in Porto Alegre, the institution where Francisco Salzano
and Maria Cátira Bortolini work; and at the Universidade Federal do Pará (ufpa)
in Belém, where we have focused on the work of Sidney Santos and associates.
In these laboratories, geneticists have conducted research both on indigenous
populations and early migration routes into the Americas, and on the consti-
tution of nonindigenous populations of Brazil since the start of colonization
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