Ethical genetic research in Indigenous communities: challenges and successful approaches

Rebekah Mcwhirter, Djapirri Mununggirritj, Dipililnga Marika, Joanne Dickinson, John Condon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indigenous populations, in common with all populations, stand to benefit from the potential of genetic research to lead to improvements in diagnostic and therapeutic tools for a wide range of complex diseases. However, many Indigenous communities, especially ones that are isolated, are not included in genetic research efforts. This situation is largely a consequence of the challenges of ethically conducting genetic research in Indigenous communities and compounded by Indigenous peoples' negative past experiences with genetic issues. To examine ways of addressing these challenges, we review one investigation of a cancer cluster in remote Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Australia. Our experiences demonstrate that genetic research can be both ethically and successfully conducted with Indigenous communities by respecting the authority of the community, involving community members, and including regular community review throughout the research process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-708
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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