'A Room of Our Own?' Legal Lacunae Regarding Genomic Sovereignty in South Africa
Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law, Vol. 73, p. 432, 2010
19 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 2, 2010
The transition from genetic to genomic research in the field of bio-medicine has been necessitated by a growing recognition amongst scientists that, in order to better understand the complexity of human health and the risk of disease, it is critical that studies of normal genomic variation be carried out across whole populations. Traditional genetic research that has focused on inherited human disorders has employed a range of techniques to identify and examine specific genes implicated in monogenic diseases. In genomic research, instead of examining specific genes, studies have focused on the whole genome. Genetic markers such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes are used to identify genetic variations and, when combined with a careful analysis of other data, are able to shed light on their relationship to disease. However, in order to undertake large-scale studies on genomic variation across whole populations (longitudinal and cross-sectional in nature) large collections of biological samples and data are required.
Keywords: genomic research
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