Genomic sovereignty and the African promise : mining the African genome for the benefit of Africa

Show simple item record De Vries, Jantina Pepper, Michael Sean 2012-12-11T10:01:35Z 2013-04-30T00:20:03Z 2012
dc.description.abstract Scientific interest in genomics in Africa is on the rise with a number of funding initiatives aimed specifically at supporting research in this area. Genomics research on material of African origin raises a number of important ethical issues. A prominent concern relates to sample export, which is increasingly seen by researchers and ethics committees across the continent as being problematic. The concept of genomic sovereignty proposes that unique patterns of genomic variation can be found in human populations, and that these are commercially, scientifically or symbolically valuable and in need of protection against exploitation. Although it is appealing as a response to increasing concerns regarding sample export, there are a number of important conceptual problems relating to the term. It is not clear, for instance, whether it is appropriate that ownership over human genomic samples should rest with national governments. Furthermore, ethnic groups in Africa are frequently spread across multiple nation states, and protection offered in one state may not prevent researchers from accessing the same group elsewhere. Lastly, scientific evidence suggests that the assumption that genomic data is unique for population groups is false. Although the frequency with which particular variants are found can differ between groups, such genes or variants per se are not unique to any population group. In this paper, the authors describe these concerns in detail and argue that the concept of genomic sovereignty alone may not be adequate to protect the genetic resources of people of African descent. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship JdV acknowledges receipt of a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. MP acknowledges support by the Medical Research Council South Africa. en_US
dc.description.uri en_US
dc.identifier.citation De Vries, J & Pepper, M 2012, 'Genomic sovereignty and the African promise : mining the African genome for the benefit of Africa', Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 38, Issue 8, pp. 474-478. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0306-6800 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1473-4257 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1136/medethics-2011-100448
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher BMJ Publishing Group en_US
dc.rights BMJ Publishing Group Ltd 2011. en_US
dc.subject Genomics en_US
dc.subject Africa en_US
dc.title Genomic sovereignty and the African promise : mining the African genome for the benefit of Africa en_US
dc.type Postprint Article en_US

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