Monday, January 26, 2015

Atlantic: "Genetic Testing and Tribal Identity" the ethics of scientific research on Native American artifacts and informed consent

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/the-cultural-limitations-of-genetic-testing/384740/

Short version, scientists have ethical questions they have to face about what they are and aren't expected to share in advance before obtaining genetic samples to do research.  In one case genetic material was obtained for two goals, the first to assess diabetic frequency and the other to map travel and migration patterns--the former was rejected while the latter was accepted.  But there's been ... kind of a history of scientists just taking stuff without bothering to get consent, informed or otherwise, to do research. 

In an era in which information about genetics can be put to a wide range of uses the ethics of obtaining informed consent and actual permission before doing something have become more crucial in genetic research.  In at least one case, summarized in the article, it is absolutely not better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission if someone decides to file litigation, or is it?

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