Abstract

Past and present attempts to classify and characterize the human biological variability are examined, considering the race concept, ethnic identification problems, assortative mating based on ethnicity, and histori- cal genetics. In relation to the latter, a review is made of the methods presently available for admixture quan- tification and of previous studies aimed at the characterization of the parental continental contributions to Latin American populations, with emphasis in global evaluations of the Costa Rican and Brazilian gene pools. Finally, the question of racism and discrimination is considered, including the relation between human rights and affir- mative actions. The right to equal opportunity should be strictly respected. Biological inequality has nothing to do with the ethical principle that someone’s position in a given society should be an accurate reflection of her/his individual ability.
Keywords: race, interethnic variability, assortative mating, racism, ethnic discrimination, affirmative policies