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sector_ico_Forestry_trans Forestry sector_ico_GenomicsSociety_trans Genomics and Society

Connecting Genomics and First Nations values and interests – Development of an educational tool

  • Project Leaders: Gary Bull, Stefania Pizzirani
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $50000
  • Competition: Societal Issues Competition – Round 2
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2018
  • Status: Active

First Nations in British Columbia (BC) are essential to the long-term management of forests. In turn, forest management can be enhanced by applying genomics-based strategies to select for desirable traits. However, some Indigenous Peoples are unaware of, or distrust genomics. Considering that an increasing amount of forests in BC is under First Nation control, their perceptions of genomics could significantly affect forest policy development.

To potentially employ genomic-based strategies within First Nation’s forests, important research needs to be conducted. First, it is necessary to better understand First Nations’ needs, values, and concerns regarding genomics. Second, First Nations community-led genomics educational tools need to be developed and supported. Bridging the gap between First Nation perspectives and genomic science will help uncover areas of mutual benefit.

This research represents an important opportunity to explore and develop First Nations community engagement processes regarding the risks and benefits of genomics, and how genomic strategies can be aligned with First Nations values. Additionally, a genomics educational tool developed and disseminated by First Nations could help increase community level understanding and potentially uptake of genomic-based solutions in the future.