A casual stroll on the beach can leave enough intact DNA behind to extract identifiable information.
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Environmental DNA provides a wealth of information for conservationists, archaeologists and forensic scientists. But the unintentional pickup of human genetic information raises ethical questions.
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Pausing AI development will give our governments and culture time to catch up with and steer the rush of new technology.
DNA editing has the capacity to treat many diseases, but how to do this safely and equitably remains unclear.
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Following the controversial births of the first gene-edited babies, a major focus of the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing was responsible use of CRISPR.
Although there are rules that govern animal research, they don’t answer one important question: when are the gains from research enough to justify the harms it may inflict?
Animal research’s benefits are clear – but public awareness of what it involves is not.
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Guidelines and regulations weigh the medical and health benefits of animal research with researchers’ ability to ensure humane care of their subjects from start to finish.
Genetic research is big business and has yielded life-saving treatments. But experts are warning of caution about ‘gain of function’ research that has the pandemic potential.
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Nature’s recent efforts to redefine the ethical responsibilities of scientists leave a lot to be desired.
Researchers need to be careful not to contaminate ancient samples with their own DNA.
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Thousands of ancient genomes have been sequenced to date. A Nobel Prize highlights tremendous opportunities for aDNA, as well as challenges related to rapid growth, equity and misinformation.
Research comes with risks, so participants must be protected and supported as much as possible.
Researchers have a number of responsibilities when embarking on their work - not least of all to the participants.
New knowledge can sprout from different research approaches.
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Researchers in sub-Saharan Africa ought to fuse conventional Western theories of knowledge and local theories of knowledge.
Ethical and equitable scientific collaboration could help increase the genetic diversity of genomic data.
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Existing genetic data and sequencing tools are overwhelmingly based on people of European ancestry, which excludes much of the rich genetic variation of the world.
Researchers need to be assessed on every aspect of their work, no matter where it takes place.
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The movement to change the way researchers are measured should undoubtedly be embraced.
Many researchers are interested in the genetic history of the Khoe-San.
The South African Khoe-San communities are no strangers to exploitative research. One research team is trying to provide genetic ancestry results to community members. But they still face many challenges.
Thousands of years ago, people in this part of Sudan used underground tombs to bury their dead.
Michele R. Buzon
Promoting and practicing ethical research that includes the people who live in the area today is as important to the archaeological team as learning more about the lives of the ancient inhabitants.
As the pandemic has progressed, so has scientists’ understanding of why masks matter and how best to protect against COVID.
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Good science doesn’t eliminate uncertainty: it explains it.
Research ethics focus on avoiding wrongdoing, having been developed largely in response to biomedical scandals. Climate change puts the onus on researchers to add ‘do good’ to ‘do no harm’ principles.
Ancient DNA holds a great deal of valuable information - but it must be researched ethically.
© Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Studying ancient DNA in Africa is valuable for understanding human evolution, population migrations, and human history locally, regionally and globally.
Instead of returning to the northern research status quo, researchers should make community health and well-being the top priority. Above: Nain, Nunatsiavut.
Summer 2021 is too soon for southern-based researchers and travellers to return to northern, Indigenous communities in the wake of COVID-19, for research fieldwork or leisure.
No-one wants our children to be used as research guinea pigs. High standards of ethical oversight are needed to ensure no child is exposed to possible harm.
Academic publishing is often linked to promotions and bonuses.
Universities that pay academics to publish their research should do so with caution.