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CMU Receives $1.2 Million NIH Grant To Develop Ethics, Policy Recommendations for Post-Conflict, Post-Disaster DNA ID Practices

h Wagner of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro will lead a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Pittsburgh and UCLA. Aronson and Wagner have set four goals for the project:

  • To determine the extent to which practitioners, human rights advocates, decision-makers and relatives of the missing share a common understanding of capabilities and limitations of the DNA identification process;
  • To identify and examine the challenges of collecting, storing and using genetic information in low-resource and often politically challenging environments;
  • To determine the degree to which for-profit biotechnology companies have unique ethical obligations to victims, governments and human rights organizations that contract their services;
  • To explain why DNA identification is used enthusiastically in some cases (e.g. Bosnia and post-9/11 New York City) and reluctantly in others, such as in Rwanda or after Hurricane Katrina, and to determine the conditions under which DNA identification programs can exert a positive effect on relatives of the missing and societies emerging from conflict and disaster.

In September, CMU will host a workshop that will bring together with the research team identification practitioners from around the world, social scientists with region-specific knowledge and a group of bioethicists led by Alex John London, associate professor of philosophy at CMU. "It's important that we have the experts who work in the field talk to us so we can understand what information will be most useful to their daily work," Aronson said.

A second phase of the project will involve the research team conducting interviews, oral histories and ethnographic and archival research in various settings, incl

SOURCE Carnegie Mellon University
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