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Article

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

1
Centre for Crime and Policing, Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
2
Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
3
University College Freiburg, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
4
Department of Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
5
Science & Justice Research Interest Group, Law School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Niels Morling
Genes 2021, 12(12), 1868; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12121868
Received: 1 November 2021 / Revised: 19 November 2021 / Accepted: 23 November 2021 / Published: 24 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Forensic Genetics)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: ethics; forensic genetics; ethics as lived practice; decision-making; genetic databasing; forensic DNA phenotyping; forensic genealogy; forensic epigenetics; communication; database ethics; forensic genetics; ethics as lived practice; decision-making; genetic databasing; forensic DNA phenotyping; forensic genealogy; forensic epigenetics; communication; database
MDPI and ACS Style

Wienroth, M.; Granja, R.; Lipphardt, V.; Nsiah Amoako, E.; McCartney, C. Ethics as Lived Practice. Anticipatory Capacity and Ethical Decision-Making in Forensic Genetics. Genes 2021, 12, 1868. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12121868

AMA Style

Wienroth M, Granja R, Lipphardt V, Nsiah Amoako E, McCartney C. Ethics as Lived Practice. Anticipatory Capacity and Ethical Decision-Making in Forensic Genetics. Genes. 2021; 12(12):1868. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12121868

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wienroth, Matthias, Rafaela Granja, Veronika Lipphardt, Emmanuel Nsiah Amoako, and Carole McCartney. 2021. "Ethics as Lived Practice. Anticipatory Capacity and Ethical Decision-Making in Forensic Genetics" Genes 12, no. 12: 1868. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12121868

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