History demonstrates that the potential for typological thinking continues to be a hazard of genetic research involving human groups. In 2022 the NIH commissioned a NASEM study on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry as Population Descriptors in Genomics Research to determine if and when race, ethnicity, ancestry, and other population descriptors should be used and why. In this ELSI Friday Forum, NASEM committee members discuss the report’s recommendations. What are population descriptors? How can their selection entrench typological thinking and undermine scientific rigor? How can we better align the appropriate use of population descriptors with genomic research objectives?