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Ethical considerations in forensic genetics research on tissue samples collected post-mortem in Cape Town, South Africa

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medical Ethics, November 2017
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3 tweeters

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Title
Ethical considerations in forensic genetics research on tissue samples collected post-mortem in Cape Town, South Africa
Published in
BMC Medical Ethics, November 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12910-017-0225-6
Pubmed ID
Authors

Laura J. Heathfield, Sairita Maistry, Lorna J. Martin, Raj Ramesar, Jantina de Vries

Abstract

The use of tissue collected at a forensic post-mortem for forensic genetics research purposes remains of ethical concern as the process involves obtaining informed consent from grieving family members. Two forensic genetics research studies using tissue collected from a forensic post-mortem were recently initiated at our institution and were the first of their kind to be conducted in Cape Town, South Africa. This article discusses some of the ethical challenges that were encountered in these research projects. Among these challenges was the adaptation of research workflows to fit in with an exceptionally busy service delivery that is operating with limited resources. Whilst seeking guidance from the literature regarding research on deceased populations, it was noted that next of kin of decedents are not formally recognised as a vulnerable group in the existing ethical and legal frameworks in South Africa. The authors recommend that research in the forensic mortuary setting is approached using guidance for vulnerable groups, and the benefit to risk standard needs to be strongly justified. Lastly, when planning forensic genetics research, consideration must be given to the potential of uncovering incidental findings, funding to validate these findings and the feedback of results to family members; the latter of which is recommended to occur through a genetic counsellor. It is hoped that these experiences will contribute towards a formal framework for conducting forensic genetic research in medico-legal mortuaries in South Africa.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 3 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 38 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 38 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 12 32%
Student > Bachelor 5 13%
Librarian 4 11%
Student > Postgraduate 3 8%
Professor > Associate Professor 2 5%
Other 6 16%
Unknown 6 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 8 21%
Nursing and Health Professions 5 13%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 13%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 5 13%
Arts and Humanities 4 11%
Other 5 13%
Unknown 6 16%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 January 2019.
All research outputs
#8,845,201
of 14,116,115 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medical Ethics
#508
of 616 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#225,712
of 400,240 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medical Ethics
#57
of 70 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 14,116,115 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 24th percentile – i.e., 24% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 616 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 14.3. This one is in the 11th percentile – i.e., 11% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 400,240 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one is in the 33rd percentile – i.e., 33% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.
We're also able to compare this research output to 70 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 11th percentile – i.e., 11% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.