Paige Harden at Town Hall SeattleThe Genetic Lottery


All human beings are 99.9 percent identical in their genetic makeup. All our differences are found in the remaining .1 percent. Our DNA makes us different in our personalities and in our health, and both matter when it comes to educational and economic success in our current society.

In The Genetic Lottery, clinical psychology professor Kathryn Paige Harden aims to reclaim genetic science from the legacy of eugenics and dismantle dangerous ideas about racial superiority. She argues that we must acknowledge the role of genetic luck if we are ever to create a fair society. Genetically associated inequalities, Harden brings forth, can be viewed through a lens of “luck egalitarianism.” This philosophical perspective on fair versus unfair inequality is already manifest in current research and policy. She proposes that genetic research can be used to advance equity goals. Regardless of the .1 percent, we can all be equal.

Kathryn Paige Harden, Ph.D. is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is the director of the Developmental Behavior Genetics lab and co-directs the Texas Twin Project.