Genetic Research Using Archival Tissue: Ethical, Social, and Legal Considerations in the United Arab Emirates

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Asian Bioethics Review


© 2018, National University of Singapore and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. Pathological archival tissue has been used as a source of research material for many years. The advancement in molecular techniques led to an escalated interest in genetic research on archival tissue. Research on archival tissue has been used without obtaining consents from patients, although the ethical justification for such a practice is unlikely to apply for genetic research that involves whole genome sequencing, for instance. Issues of confidentiality and patients’ autonomy are being raised as institutions consider when approval for this type of research should be granted. In addition, patients’ advocate is mandating some of these changes. In the context of the United Arab Emirates, this paper makes clear the current uncertainties arising from the use of archival tissue in genetic research, as it could be highly invasive of privacy interests and also fails to respect autonomous choice. It further explains what needs to change in order to support such research that is directed at promoting public good, but in a way that is not detrimental to the welfare of patients as research participants.

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