Ethics as Lived Practice. Anticipatory Capacity and Ethical Decision-Making in Forensic Genetics

Wienroth, Matthias, Granja, Rafaela, Lipphardt, Veronika, Nsiah Amoako, Emmanuel and McCartney, Carole (2021) Ethics as Lived Practice. Anticipatory Capacity and Ethical Decision-Making in Forensic Genetics. Genes, 12 (12). p. 1868. ISSN 2073-4425

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12121868

Abstract

Greater scrutiny and demands for innovation and increased productivity place pressures on scientists. Forensic genetics is advancing at a rapid pace but can only do so responsibly, usefully, and acceptably within ethical and legal boundaries. We argue that such boundaries require that forensic scientists embrace ‘ethics as lived practice’. As a starting point, we critically discuss ‘thin’ ethics in forensic genetics, which lead to a myopic focus on procedures, and to seeing ‘privacy’ as the sole ethical concern and technology as a mere tool. To overcome ‘thin’ ethics in forensic genetics, we instead propose understanding ethics as an intrinsic part of the lived practice of a scientist. Therefore, we explore, within the context of three case studies of emerging forensic genetics technologies, ethical aspects of decision-making in forensic genetics research and in technology use. We discuss the creation, curation, and use of databases, and the need to engage with societal and policing contexts of forensic practice. We argue that open communication is a vital ethical aspect. Adoption of ‘ethics as lived practice’ supports the development of anticipatory capacity—empowering scientists to understand, and act within ethical and legal boundaries, incorporating the operational and societal impacts of their daily decisions, and making visible ethical decision making in scientific practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: An aspect of this work is supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under project UIDB/00736/2020 and contract CEECINST/00157/2018 (attributed to Rafaela Granja).
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethics, forensic genetics, ethics as lived practice, decision-making, genetic databasing, forensic DNA phenotyping, forensic genealogy, forensic epigenetics, communication, database
Subjects: C400 Genetics
F400 Forensic and Archaeological Science
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2021 15:01
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2021 10:25
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/47822

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