Razib Khan

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Razib Khan
Rajib Khan

CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Oregon (BS)
Scientific career
FieldsPopulation genetics

Razib Khan (রাজীব খান Rājīb Khān) is a Bangladeshi-American writer in population genetics and consumer genomics.

Life and education[edit]

Khan was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh but moved to the United States at the age of five. His family is from the Comilla District of eastern Bangladesh.[1] In kindergarten his teacher pronounced his name "Razib" and the name stuck.[2] He grew up in Upstate New York and Eastern Oregon. Though brought up a Muslim, he was an atheist from an early age.[3]

At the University of Oregon, he completed his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry in 2000 and his Bachelor of Science in biology in 2006. Razib also did graduate work at the University of California at Davis.[4] He is currently working as the Director of Scientific Content at Insitome in Austin, Texas.[5]

Research and publications[edit]

In 2002, Khan co-founded a blog called Gene Expression which discussed technical and social issues in genetics.[3] Since writing for Gene Expression, he has written science articles for numerous mainstream publications, and many of the articles touched on controversial subjects such as race, gender, and intelligence.[3] Michael Schulson wrote Khan has written articles for publications associated with the alt-right and his critics have described his career as an example of the "murky line between mainstream science and scientific racism."[3] Khan's publications have been cited by popular science writers, including his work on the migrations of Southeast Asian Civilizations,[6] Jewish migrations[7] family genetics,[8] and consumer genetics.[9]

In 2014, Khan made news when he sequenced his son's genome in utero.[10] Antonio Regalado wrote his son may be the first healthy person to have his entire genome sequenced before being born.[10] In an interview with Don Gonyea, Khan stated his child was the most important thing in his life, so it made sense to know everything about his genetics.[11] He was able to obtain the genome sequence by requesting a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test.[12] After obtaining the raw genetic data, Khan used the free software Promethease to analyze the data.[13] Khan believes society is in the "second age of eugenics,"[14] and full genome sequences of fetuses will become standard procedure for parents in the 21st century.[15] Ainsley Newsome wrote "Khan's decision to obtain the whole genome sequence of his partner's fetus while in utero shows us that genomics is no longer a fantasy."[16]


He contirubed a chapter titled Genetic Origin of Indo-Aryans in the 2019 book Which Of Us Are Aryans?. The book was co-authored by Romila Thapar, Michael Witzel, Jaya Menon and Kai Friese.


In March 2015, the New York Times announced that it had hired Khan on a short-term contract, and that he would write about once a month for the Times.[17] The Times wrote he is "a science blogger and a doctoral candidate in genomics and genetics at the University of California, Davis. He writes about evolution, genetics, religion, politics and philosophy."[17] The same day the Times announced hiring Khan, Gawker published an opinion piece written by J.K Trotter, who noted that Khan also wrote blogs for Taki's Magazine, a site "founded in 2007 by Taki Theodoracopulos, the flamboyantly racist Greek."[18] As a result of Khan's history of writing for controversial publications, the Times removed him as a regular periodic contributor, but stated they remain "open to consideration of submissions from him" in the op-Ed pages.[19] The Times did not specifically mention the part of Khan's work they found uncomfortable,[20] and he wrote two op-eds for the Times before they ended his contract.[21] Khan wrote on Twitter, "yeah, told me today. may contribute one-off op-eds in future. i’m chill about it. it wasn’t a surprise that ppl went ballistic."[20] In a 2016 interview with the economist and podcaster James Miller, referring to the cancelled Times contract, Khan stated, "I have a clean conscience because I say what I think is true."[22]

Other projects[edit]

In December 2010 Khan co-founded the group blog Brown Pundits together with British-Pakistani Bahá'í Zachary L. Zavidé and Pakistani-American Omar Ali. The blog pertains mainly to South Asian issues. In October 2018 they began an associated podcast called The Brown Pundits Podcast.[23]


  1. ^ "Razib Khan's raw genotype data on 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, Geno 2.0 and Ancestry". 28 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Three teachers". 22 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Schulson, Michael (February 28, 2017). "Race, Science, and Razib Khan". Undark Magazine. Khan’s career exemplifies the sometimes-murky line between mainstream science and scientific racism, and it illustrates how difficult it can be to define the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable speech about race — and to understand what, if anything, science has to do with it.
  4. ^ The Bioinformatics CRO Podcast, 2020
  5. ^ "Company". Insitome. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  6. ^ Pillalamarri, Akhilesh (September 29, 2018). "How India Influenced Southeast Asian Civilization". The Diplomat.
  7. ^ Entine, Jon (May 16, 2013). "Israeli Researcher Challenges Jewish DNA links to Israel, Calls Those Who Disagree 'Nazi Sympathizers'". Forbes.
  8. ^ Whaley, KP (October 28, 2013). "Which Grandparent Are You More Like?". Wisconsin Public Radio.
  9. ^ Quelch, John (January 6, 2016). Consumers, Corporations, and Public Health: A Case-Based Approach to Sustainable Business. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0190235130.
  10. ^ a b Regalado, Antonio (June 14, 2014). "For One Baby, Life Begins with Genome Revealed". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Gonyea, Don (June 29, 2014). "Curious Father Decodes His Unborn Son's DNA". Weekend Edition Sunday. NPR.
  12. ^ Walker, Andy (June 15, 2016). Super You: How Technology is Revolutionizing What It Means to Be Human. Que Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-0133790702.
  13. ^ Watson, James; Berry, Andrew; Davies, Kevin (2017). DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution. Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. p. 216. ISBN 978-0385351188.
  14. ^ Cussins, Jessica (June 26, 2014). "Quantified and Analyzed, Before the First Breath". Center for Genetics and Society.
  15. ^ Rieland, Randy (June 23, 2014). "Will Genome Sequencing Make Us Smarter About Dealing With Diseases in Our Genes—Or Just More Anxious?". Smithsonian Magazine.
  16. ^ Newson, Ainsley (December 1, 2014). "Whose genome is it anyway? Ethics and whole genome sequencing before birth". BioNews. Retrieved December 16, 2018. Geneticist Razib Khan's decision to obtain the whole genome sequence of his partner's fetus in utero shows us that genomics is no longer a fantasy.
  17. ^ a b Gold, Hadas (March 18, 2015). "New York Times adds 20 opinion writers". Politico. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  18. ^ Trotter, JK (March 18, 2015). "New Times Op-Ed Writer Has a Colorful Past With Racist Publications". Gawker. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  19. ^ Byers, Dylan (March 19, 2016). "New York Times drops Razib Khan". Politico. Retrieved December 2, 2018. After reviewing the full body of Razib Khan's work, we are no longer comfortable using him as a regular, periodic contributor. We remain open to consideration of submissions from him to our op-ed pages, both in print and online.
  20. ^ a b Wemple, Erik (March 20, 2015). "New York Times signs contract writer Razib Khan, then dumps him". Washington Post.
  21. ^ Matthews, Toni (March 21, 2015). "Razib Khan Dropped By New York Times, But Only After His 'Racist' Past Goes Viral". Inquisitr.
  22. ^ Miller, James (2016). "Interview of Razib Khan". Future Strategist. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  23. ^ Khan, Razib (2018-10-14). "Brown Pundits podcast, the Browncast episode 1". Brown Pundits. Archived from the original on 2018-10-17.