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Havasupai Case Highlights Risks In DNA Research

Publication Date: 
April 21, 2010
The New York Times
Amy Harmon

Professor Hank Greely, an expert in law and the biosciences, is quoted on the ethics of informed consent for DNA research. Amy Harmon of the New York Times filed this story:

A settlement between 41 members of the Havasupai Indian tribe and Arizona State University highlights the risk researchers take when they fail to secure what is known as “informed consent,” fully informing research participants how their DNA may be used, legal experts and civil rights advocates said.

“It sows distrust,” said Hank Greely, a law professor and director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University. “And researchers cannot do their research unless people are willing to trust them.”

Citing the Havasupai dispute in recent years, other Indian tribes have refused to participate in genetic research. (Under the settlement, the Havasupai agreed to ask other Arizona tribes to repeal resolutions saying they would not cooperate with researchers at Arizona State University.)

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