January 14, 2021 Approaching Indigenous Communities on Their Own Terms in Microbiome Research by Matthew Anderson, Ohio State University. Hosted by ISCB
Principles of individual consent and sample deidentification stand as pillars of modern biomedical research but are flawed with respect to certain populations. Indigenous peoples have historically been targeted by unethical practices that continue into the present even when following best practices for conducting research with human subjects. This has led some studies in American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) populations to included additional safeguards that are reinforced through these communities’ unique legal status as domestic dependent nations. Yet, use of microbiome datasets generally lacks restriction on data sharing and other protections because of their perceived inability to significantly impact public health or individual welfare despite over a decade of work demonstrating the importance of microbial population in human development, metabolism, and immunopathologies. Additionally, raw datasets can contain large proportions of human-derived reads that include information on the host and not just microbes. Current projects in partnerships with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe serve as new models of community partnerships to address issues of sovereignty in human and non-human datasets.