Nature microbiology. 2023-10-01; 8.10: 1777-1786.

Microbiome ownership for Indigenous peoples

Handsley-Davis M, Anderson MZ, Bader AC, Ehau-Taumaunu H, Fox K, Kowal E, Weyrich LS

PMID: 37770744


Several studies have reported increased microbial diversity, or distinct microbial community compositions, in the microbiomes of Indigenous peoples around the world. However, there is a widespread failure to include Indigenous cultures and perspectives in microbiome research programmes, and ethical issues pertaining to microbiome research involving Indigenous participants have not received enough attention. We discuss the benefits and risks arising from microbiome research involving Indigenous peoples and analyse microbiome ownership as an ethical concept in this context. We argue that microbiome ownership represents an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to steward and protect their resident microbial communities at every stage of research.

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