Razib Khan

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Razib Khan
Razib Khan

CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materUniversity of California, Davis (PhD candidate)
University of Oregon (BS)
Scientific career
FieldsPopulation genetics

Razib Khan is an American geneticist and science educator best known for his work in population genetics and consumer genetics.

Life and education[edit]

Khan was raised in the United States by Bangladeshi Muslim parents; however, he is an atheist.[1] At the University of Oregon, he completed his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 2000 and his Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2006. He is completing his Ph.D in Genetics at the University of California, Davis and is currently working as the Director of Science Content at Insitome.[2]

Research and publications[edit]

In 2002, Khan was the co-creator of a blog called Gene Expression; it discussed technical and social issues in genetics.[1] 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.[1] Khan's publications have been cited by popular science writers, including his work on the migrations of Southeast Asian Civilizations,[3] Jewish migrations[4] family genetics,[5] and consumer genetics.[6]

In 2014, Khan made news when he sequenced his son's genome while still in utero.[7] Antonio Regalado wrote his son may be the first healthy person to have his entire genome sequenced before being born.[7] 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.[8] He was able to obtain the genome sequence by requesting a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test.[9] After obtaining the raw genetic data, Khan used the free software Promethease to analyze the data.[10] Khan believes society is in the "second age of eugenics,"[11] and full genome sequences of fetuses will become standard procedure for parents in the 21st century.[12] 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."[13]

In March 2015, the New York Times announced that it hired Khan on a short-term contract, and he will write about once a month for the Times.[14] 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."[14] The same day the Times announced hiring Khan, Gawker published an article that highlighted some of the controversial publications Khan previously wrote for.[15] 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.[16] The Times did not specifically mention the part of Khan's work they found uncomfortable,[17] and he wrote two op-eds for the Times before they ended his contract.[18] 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."[17] In a 2016 interview with the economist and podcaster James Miller, referring to the cancelled Times contract, Khan stated, "I have a clean conscious because I say what I think is true."[19]

In 2018, Elizabeth Warren's Native American ancestry became a national discussion after she released the results of her consumer DNA test, and Khan was quoted by both the Genetic Literacy Project and a fact checking website.[20][21][22] He stated that "Warren should have 10x more Native ancestry than the typical white American."[21] Khan wrote on Warren's ancestry as far back as 2012, and wrote "if Elizabeth Warren wants to validate genuine Native American ancestry, she can surely afford a personal genomics service to dig through her genome."[23]


  1. ^ a b c 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.
  2. ^ "Razib Khan". UC Davis College of Biological Sciences. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  3. ^ Pillalamarri, Akhilesh (September 29, 2018). "How India Influenced Southeast Asian Civilization". The Diplomat.
  4. ^ Entine, Jon (May 16, 2013). "Israeli Researcher Challenges Jewish DNA links to Israel, Calls Those Who Disagree 'Nazi Sympathizers'". Forbes.
  5. ^ Whaley, KP (October 28, 2013). "Which Grandparent Are You More Like?". Wisconsin Public Radio.
  6. ^ Quelch, John (January 6, 2016). Consumers, Corporations, and Public Health: A Case-Based Approach to Sustainable Business. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0190235130.
  7. ^ a b Regalado, Antonio (June 14, 2014). "For One Baby, Life Begins with Genome Revealed". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Gonyea, Don (June 29, 2014). "Curious Father Decodes His Unborn Son's DNA". NPR.
  9. ^ Walker, Andy (June 15, 2016). Super You: How Technology is Revolutionizing What It Means to Be Human. Que Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-0133790702.
  10. ^ Watson, James; Berry, Andrew; Davies, Kevin (2017). DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution. Alfred A. Knopf, 2017. p. 216. ISBN 978-0385351188.
  11. ^ Cussins, Jessica (June 26, 2014). "Quantified and Analyzed, Before the First Breath". Center for Genetics and Society.
  12. ^ Rieland, Randy (June 23, 2014). "Will Genome Sequencing Make Us Smarter About Dealing With Diseases in Our Genes—Or Just More Anxious?". Smithsonian Magazine.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b Gold, Hadas (March 18, 2015). "New York Times adds 20 opinion writers". Politico. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Trotter, JK (March 18, 2015). "New Times Op-Ed Writer Has a Colorful Past With Racist Publications". Gawker. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ a b Wemple, Erik (March 20, 2015). "New York Times signs contract writer Razib Khan, then dumps him". Washington Post.
  18. ^ Matthews, Toni (March 21, 2015). "Razib Khan Dropped By New York Times, But Only After His 'Racist' Past Goes Viral". Inquisitr.
  19. ^ Miller, James (2016). "Interview of Razib Khan". Future Strategist. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  20. ^ Suresh, Arvind (October 16, 2018). "Sen. Elizabeth Warren controversy follow: Almost every American has a sliver of Native American ancestry". Genetic Literacy Project. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Larsen, Emily (October 19, 2018). "Fact Check: Does Elizabeth Warren Have Less Native American DNA Than The Typical White American?". Check Your Fact. Retrieved November 1, 2018. “No matter what classifier you use Warren should have 10x more Native ancestry than the typical white American with very little Native ancestry (levels which may be part of the background noise),” Kahn said.
  22. ^ Khan, Razib (October 15, 2018). "Elizabeth Warren Carries Native American DNA – She's Running!". Gene Expression. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  23. ^ Khan, Razib (April 29, 2012). "Elizabeth Warren, Native American". Discover. Retrieved November 3, 2018.

External links[edit]


Khan has been a frequent writer with the following publications: