The Proposal

Interdisciplinary Nature of Proposal

This project bridges the sociology of science, bioethics, human genomics and education policy.

Potential Societal Impact

This interdisciplinary research will alert us to the possible dangers of racial discrimination that may arise from COVID-19 and from the necessary genomic study of ethnic groups in the battle to combat the disease. It will also inform us of the correct public education measures needed -and the bioethical protections required - for a multi-racial society in the age of precision medicine. In short, we will yield a set of guidelines for the ethical use of precision medicine in describing health and disease across different ethnic groups. This work will also serve as a pilot project for the broader bioethical assessment that the PIs will extend to the GenomeAsia100K consortium. This work will also serve as a model and a guide for the assessment of the social and ethical consequences of COVID-19. It will also help GenomeAsia100K serve as an example to other global ethnic genome projects as to how to identify and mitigate potential discrimination.

Scientific Outputs and Project Deliverables

We propose to write two co-authored peer-reviewed publications that we will submit to a suitable high-impact journal, such as Nature, Science, or Genetics Research, popular venues for debates about bioethics and the social implications of genomics.

Risks and Mitigation

This study poses minimum risks for the subjects recruited as the material discussed is not sensitive. All subjects will, however, be anonymised, following GenomeAsia100K’s standard practices and approved IRB protocols. All data will be stored on password-protected laptops and hard drives and will only be accessible to the researchers on the project. All subjects will be allowed to withdraw from the study at any time. All subjects will not be penalized for withdrawal. This study has also been incorporated into GenomeAsia100K’s NTU IRB protocol and we expect approval to proceed soon.

Current Status

Data collection has been completed, the data analysis and manuscript are being prepared.