Overvaluing individual consent ignores risks to tribal participants

Genomic studies often rely on individual-based consent approaches for tribal members residing outside of their communities. This consent model fails to acknowledge the risks to small groups such as tribes, which can implicate the community as a whole.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Claw, K. G. et al. A framework for enhancing ethical genomic research with Indigenous communities. Nat. Commun. 9, 2957 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Reardon, J. Race to the Finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics 99–125 (Princeton Univ. Press, 2004).

  3. 3.

    Kaiser, J. Million-person U. S. study of genes and health stumbles over including Native American groups. Science https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay2081 (2019).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Norris, T., Vines, P. L. & Hoeffel, E. M. Report number C2010BR-10: the American Indian and Alaska Native population: 2010. United States Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2012/dec/c2010br-10.html (2012).

  5. 5.

    Juengst, E. et al. From “personalized” to “precision” medicine: the ethical and social implications of rhetorical reform in genomic medicine. Hastings Cent. Rep. 46, 21–33 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information




The authors contributed equally to all aspects of this manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Krystal S. Tsosie.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

K.S.T. and J.M.Y. serve as voluntary board members of a non-profit 501(c)3 Indigenous biobank initiative in the United States. D.D. declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tsosie, K.S., Yracheta, J.M. & Dickenson, D. Overvaluing individual consent ignores risks to tribal participants. Nat Rev Genet 20, 497–498 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41576-019-0161-z

Download citation

Further reading


Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter for a daily update on COVID-19 science.
Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing