Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Communities underrepresented in genomic studies express mistrust and cynicism when presented narratives that frame genomics as positive and focus on its potential benefits, according to a new study in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances. Researchers from Wellcome Connecting Science, Genomics England, and the language strategy firm Maslansky + Partners conducted focus group studies that included 100 individuals of Black African, Black Caribbean, or Pakistani ancestries or of other ancestries from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to gauge their thoughts on statements from researchers that center scientific or health benefits of participating in research. Participants said that the phrases used wrongly assume researchers have participants' trust, don't acknowledge past injustices or current inequalities, and are overly simplistic. "Our research has demonstrated that everyday talk about genomics currently, used by researchers and clinicians alike, has the potential to alienate already disengaged public audiences," co-author Anna Middleton from Wellcome Connecting Science and the University of Cambridge, says in a statement. She and her colleagues write that researchers "need to linguistically meet public audiences where they are at" and offer some possible new phrasing.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.