Studying Vulnerable Populations Through an Epigenetics Lens: Proceed with Caution

Canadian Journal of Bioethics / Revue canadienne de bioéthique 5 (1) (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Epigenetics – the study of mechanisms that influence and modify gene expression – is providing unique insights into how an individual’s social and physical environment impact the body at a molecular level, particularly in populations that experience stigmatization and trauma. Researchers are employing epigenetic studies to illuminate how epigenetic modifications lead to imbalances in health outcomes for vulnerable populations. However, the investigation of factors that render a population epigenetically vulnerable present particular ethical and methodological challenges. Here we are concerned with demonstrating how, in targeting certain populations for epigenetic research, this research may be pathologizing socio-cultural and medical practices in those populations in a way that increases their vulnerability. Using a case study approach, this article examines three vulnerable populations currently of interest to epigenetic researchers – Indigenous, autistic, and transgender populations – in order to highlight some of the challenges of conducting non-stigmatizing research in epigenetics.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,075

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Epigenetics, Responsiveness and Embodiment.Maria Kronfeldner - 2021 - In Dana Mahr & Martina von Arx (eds.), De-Sequencing: Identity Work with Genes. Palgrave-Macmillan.
Epigenetics: ambiguities and implications.Karola Stotz & Paul Griffiths - 2016 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 38 (4):1-20.
The Ethics of Marketing to Vulnerable Populations.David Palmer & Trevor Hedberg - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 116 (2):403-413.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-04-03

Downloads
26 (#611,779)

6 months
7 (#432,182)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Stamatina Liosi
University of Kent (PhD)
Brian D. Earp
University of Oxford

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations