Affiliation: Department of Clinical Research and Leadership / George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2100-W Pennsylvania Avenue, NW – Ste. 5054, Washington, DC 20037, USA.
There is an increasing number of genomic research studies occurring in African countries, as well as recently enacted funding mechanisms to build capacity to conduct genomic research in Africa. While there is extensive literature and debate about the various national and international laws and policies related to genomic research in general, most discussions focus on developed and high-income countries. Genomic research, however, is a global endeavor requiring enrollment, data-sharing, and data-storage policies that involve socially, economically, and ethnically diverse populations. On one hand, the translation of genomic medicine into personalized clinical care will fail globally if as many different populations as possible are not adequately represented at the research stage. On the other, future internationally sponsored genomic research projects that could translate into personalized medicine applications will be in jeopardy in communities where genomic researchers neglect to consider local laws, beliefs, and needs. This paper discusses the opportunities and challenges for investigators and research institutions seeking to conduct genomic research in Nigeria. Specifically, we highlight the potential role of Nigerian laws, such as Nigeria’s National Code of Health Research Ethics and the role of local bodies, such as Community Advisory Committees, in promoting genomic research approaches that are appropriate for the local environment. This article thus contributes to a growing body of literature on global bioethics and personalized medicine in resource-limited settings.