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Scholars gather to discuss indigenous genomic research


November 04, 2008

A group of scholar practitioners will gather at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law on Nov. 6-7 to discuss the promise and perils of current efforts to transform indigenous peoples' governance of genomic research. 

Professor Rebecca Tsosie, Executive Director of the Indian Legal Program, is the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation grant funding the workshop, "Genomics, Governance, and Indigenous Peoples."
  
About a dozen invited guests will attend, including experts in human genetics and the social, legal, and ethical aspects of genomics in different national and cultural contexts. Individual participants have experience working within existing regimes of governance, and they see a need for policy innovation and change in relation to genomic research. Some participants are already engaged in experimental efforts to create change.

Participants will engage in several facilitated dialogues organized around several themes including property, sovereignty, and the "politics of representation" (who represents whom and who decides?).

The workshop was first conceived as being focused on the United States and "tribal" governance of genomics, but has been broadened to include scholar practitioners working in other parts of the world in recognition that strategies for governing genomic research cannot be contained by national borders.

Workshop outcomes will be relevant for indigenous governance within multiple national contexts. They include an edited, multi-authored volume, and a policy paper focusing on the core themes of the workshop: property and various forms of sovereignty as those are informed by both domestic and international structures of law and policy.

Judy Nichols, judith.nichols@asu.edu
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law