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Strategies to guide the return of genomic research findings: an Australian perspective


Eckstein, L and Otlowski, M, Strategies to guide the return of genomic research findings: an Australian perspective, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 15, (3) pp. 403-415. ISSN 1176-7529 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11673-018-9856-7


In Australia, along with many other countries, limited guidance or other support strategies are currently available to researchers, institutional research ethics committees, and others responsible for making decisions about whether to return genomic findings with potential value to participants or their blood relatives. This lack of guidance results in onerous decision-making burdens—traversing technical, interpretative, and ethical dimensions—as well as uncertainty and inconsistencies for research participants. This article draws on a recent targeted consultation conducted by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council to put forward strategies for supporting return of finding decision-making. In particular, we propose a pyramid of decision-making support: decision-making guidelines, technical and interpretative assistance, and ethical assistance for intractable "tough" cases. Each step of the pyramid involves an increasing level of regulatory involvement and applies to a smaller subsection of genomic research findings. Implementation of such strategies would facilitate a growing evidence base for return of finding decisions, thereby easing the financial, time, and moral burdens currently placed on researchers and other relevant decision-makers while also improving the quality of such decisions and, consequently, participant outcomes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:research ethics committees, genomics, decision making, Australia
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Eckstein, L (Dr Lisa Eckstein)
UTAS Author:Otlowski, M (Professor Margaret Otlowski)
ID Code:126054
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Office of the Faculty of Law
Deposited On:2018-05-21
Last Modified:2022-07-05

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