Participatory approaches to genomic research manifest along a continuum from bottom-up citizen-science initiatives designed to liberate scientific inquiry from the constraints of traditional research institutional contexts and professional practices to top-down investigator-initiated studies designed to expose the public to scientific research processes and build its support and enthusiasm for genomic research. With foundations as varied as open science, crowdsourcing, patient advocacy, social media, the digitization of health, and the neoliberalization of academic research, a range of ethical frameworks inform the modes of participatory genomic research. Using illustrations from citizen genomic science, patient advocacy, and investigator-led and government-initiated genomic research efforts, we argue that as participatory genomic research pushes the conventional research boundaries toward a more democratizing ethos, it challenges scientific practices and the ethical conduct of genomic research both within and outside of the traditional sites of biomedical innovation.


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