Ethics of Biological Sampling Research with Aboriginal Communities in Canada
- Behdin Nowrouzi
- Lorrilee McGregor
- Alicia McDougall
- Donna Debassige
- Jennifer Casole
- Christine Nguyen
- Behnam Nowrouzi-Kia
- Deborah McGregor
BACKGROUND: The objective of this paper is to identify key ethical issues associated with biological sampling in Aboriginal populations in Canada and to recommend approaches that can be taken to address these issues.
METHODS: Our work included the review of notable biological sampling cases and issues. We examined several significant cases (Nuu-chah-nult people of British Columbia, Hagahai peoples of Papua New Guinea and the Havasupai tribe of Arizona) on the inappropriate use of biological samples and secondary research in Aboriginal populations by researchers.
RESULTS: Considerations for biological sampling in Aboriginal communities with a focus on community-based participatory research involving Aboriginal communities and partners are discussed. Recommendations are provided on issues of researcher reflexivity, ethical considerations, establishing authentic research relationships, ownership of biological material and the use of community-based participatory research involving Aboriginal communities.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite specific guidelines for Aboriginal research, there remains a need for biological sampling protocols in Aboriginal communities. This will help protect Aboriginal communities from unethical use of their biological materials while advancing biomedical research that could improve health outcomes.
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