DNA research subjects view contributions as commercial

Legal and medical experts from UNC and Duke University have found that healthy people who contribute DNA samples for medical research see their relationship with researchers as a commercial transaction, rather than participation in traditional medical research.

After studying interviews with research participants, experts found that contributors held that belief even though subjects had read informed consent documents explicitly stating DNA contribution was not a commercial transaction.

The findings were published in a policy paper, “Genomics, Biobanks and the Trade-Secret Model,” in the April 15 issue of the journal Science.

Traditionally, informed consent tries to make is clear that subject are not entering a commercial exchange and will not be rewarded for participation.

Experts who worked on the paper said it could start a debate about the use of implied consent in DNA-related research. The belief is that a new legal model could boost DNA research participation.

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