Genetic Research and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

E. Kowal, G. Pearson, Christopher Peacock, Sarra Jamieson, Jenefer Blackwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)
129 Downloads (Pure)


While human genetic research promises to deliver a range of health benefits to the population, genetic research that takes place in Indigenous communities has proven controversial. Indigenous peoples have raised concerns, including a lack of benefit to their communities, a diversion of attention and resources from non-genetic causes of health disparities and racism in health care, a reinforcement of “victim-blaming” approaches to health inequalities, and possible misuse of blood and tissue samples. Drawing on the international literature, this article reviews the ethical issues relevant to genetic research in Indigenous populations and considers how some of these have been negotiated in a genomic research project currently under way in a remote Aboriginal community. We consider how the different levels of Indigenous research governance operating in Australia impacted on the research project and discuss whether specific guidelines for the conduct of genetic research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-432
JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
Issue number4
Early online date12 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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