Genomic Sovereignty in a Global Context: Comparative Exchanges on Justice, Ethics and Genomic Medicine

Introduction :

The development of novel diagnostics, therapeutics and health services is increasingly predicated on insights provided by genomic medicine. Over the last two decades nations across the globe have invested in large-scale scientific projects that sequence and analyze genomic variation within the populations that live in their borders. Yet, despite the proliferation of genome science in Asia, Latin America and Africa, the analytical approaches to understanding the social and ethical implications of genomic medicine often draw on the geopolitical context of North America and Europe. However, claims to genomic sovereignty emanating from a range of developing nations and institutional bodies are challenging current ethical approaches, as well as forms of ownership, and the distribution of benefits and resources of genomic medicine. The aim of this two day workshop is to build knowledge and foster dialogue on issues of ethics, ownership and justice in the global context of genomic medicine. It will bring together an international group of researchers who conduct theoretically-informed empirical research on the development of genomic medicine in Canada, Mexico, India, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, Colombia, Brazil and the US. The workshop will explore the significance of national differences in relation to both the use of population categories (with attention to their social and ethical implications for stigma and discrimination), as well as how national claims to sovereignty over genomic resources may be altering the development of genomic medicine. The workshop will thus examine ethical, legal and social implications of genomic medicine in a transnational context by using comparative empirical research in order to inform current debates on justice, benefits and sovereignty.

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