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ELSI Friday Forum 2022

Decoloniality and Genetic Ancestry: Situating the "African Genome"


The language and practice of social ancestry and genetics are steeped in history. They increasingly influence discussions about the practice of science and the role of communities, yet the meanings and concepts used in those discussions are disputed. In this ELSI Forum on decoloniality and epistemological erasures in genomic research, we take up the topic of ancestry in genomics and ask how the question of ancestry would be viewed differently from an African perspective. We will highlight the experiences of African researchers, who work between Africa and the world, and see with them how these realities present themselves in their day-to-day work. How do these notions reflect their capacity to identify disease biomarkers? How do concepts of race, ethnicity or ancestry influence their approach to classifying information and to constituting biobanks? Are the ends of genomic research at the service of African patients the same as the ones destined to cater to patients in other parts of the world? How can a decolonial framework create equitable knowledge exchange and capacity?

Join the discussion with panelists Alice Matimba, PhD, MS and Palwendé R. Boua, PhD, moderated by Henri-Michel Yéré, PhD, MA.