Understanding cultural values, norms and beliefs that may impact participation in genome‐editing related research: Perspectives of local communities in Botswana

Developing World Bioethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Gene‐editing research is a complex science and foreign in most communities including Botswana. Adopting a qualitative deliberative framework with 109 participants from 7 selected ethnic communities in Botswana, we explored the perceptions of local communities on cultural values, norms, and beliefs that may motivate or deter likely participation in the use of gene‐editing related research. What emerged as the ethnic community's motivators for research participation include the potential for gene‐editing technologies to promote access to individualized medications, and the possibility of protecting family members from genetic related diseases. Deterrents for research participation include cultural values such as implications of lineage for chieftainship, trust, fear or anxiety, uncertainty, and sensitivity on the use of gene‐editing. Findings of our study have implications for continuous engagement with local communities to explore potential ways of addressing cultural sensitivities that can further deter their participation in future gene‐editing related research.

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