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Editing Islands: Indigenous governance of gene drives in the Pacific

Event Type
Center for Indigenous Science
230 Davenport Hall
Mar 2, 2023   3:00 pm  
Dr. Riley Taitingfong, University of Arizona, Native Nations Institute
Originating Calendar
American Indian Studies Program

Center for Indigenous Science

This talk examines widespread proposals to implement novel genetic engineering technologies known as gene drives on islands, and the challenges of adopting community engagement activities to facilitate local and Indigenous determination of the use of those technologies. This examination is driven by an interest in the meaning-making processes that undergird scientific imaginaries about islands and Indigenous knowledge, and a desire to identify opportunities to better align scientific practice to the interests of Indigenous Pacific Islanders on whose lands these technologies may one day be deployed. I use interdisciplinary methodology (informed by Pacific Studies, Feminist Science Studies, and Indigenous Studies) to analyze the scientific literature prescribing that gene drives be tested on islands to ensure their “safe” development, and draw on ethnographic methods to analyze emergent community and stakeholder engagement practices on two Hawaiian islands where gene drive research is underway. My analysis is rooted in my standpoint as a diasporic CHamoru (Indigenous people of Guåhan/Guam) woman, and my everyday experiences as a researcher navigating scholarly activities and deliberation about gene drive technologies. 

Co-sponsored by the American Indian Studies Program, the Department of Anthropology, and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

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