WAC Sponsored Session
Decoding Implications of the Genographic Project for Archaeology
A panel discussion organized by George Nicholas (Simon Fraser University) and Julie Hollowell (University of British Columbia and Indiana University).
As illustrated by the recent controversy created by the National Geographic-sponsored Genographic Project and its predecessors, there is a need to better understand the broader ethical and practical implications of uses of ancient human genetic information. While technological advances are facilitating the kinds of information available to researchers, concerns about appropriation and the potential misuse or commodification of genetic material and the data extracted from it have been raised by a number of stakeholders. Aspects open to consideration are access to samples, permissions for research and analysis, ownership and dissemination of data, and consequences of archaeological or historical interpretation of results. This forum is an exploration and discussion of some of the salient issues involved from a variety of perspectives, rather than a debate. Through it, we hope to generate productive dialogue and delineate further questions about intellectual property, cultural identity, and research ethics. The panel will begin with short presentations by participants, followed by an extended period of moderated discussion. This session is sponsored by the World Archaeological Congress and by the Intellectual Property Issues and Cultural Heritage Project.