Antonio Regalado, from Science magazine (AAAS) reports about how Q’eros indigenous group is blocking a DNA sampling plan by researchers working with National Geographic’s Genogrophic Project.


[From ScienceInsider Website]

“Complaints by indigenous leaders and local officials have blocked a plan by geneticists with the National Geographic Society to collect DNA from the remote Q’eros tribe in Peru as part of the Genographic Project, which seeks molecular clues to humankind’s migrations over the globe. Population geneticist Spencer Wells, head of the Genographic Project, along with other expedition members, had planned to collect DNA in the Q’eros communities tomorrow, 7 May, as part of the ongoing project to use DNA collected from hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Now the expedition appears to have run afoul of local biodiversity campaigners. In a flurry of letters released this week, indigenous leaders charge that scientists working with National Geographic’s Genographic Project planned to collect DNA samples without following local regulations and obtaining proper consents. Officials met Wednesday in Cusco, Peru, to discuss the project and to grill a local guide and anthropologist hired by National Geographic.

In an e-mail to ScienceInsider, Wells said that his team had verbal permission from leaders of two Q’eros communities to visit, and that the complaints apparently originated with a third community. “We have cancelled our visit to the Q’eros until we find out exactly what happened,” he said.

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