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Ancient DNA studies and new bioethic problems

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Human Evolution


The development of the ancient DNA technique allows the genetic study of vanished human populations, some of them, as Fueguians and Tasmanians, of great anthropological interest. This possibility, however, involves some new bioethic problems, concerning the origin of the skeletal samples that can be analyzed and the moral authority of living aboriginals with respect to human remains of perhaps several thousand years of antiquity. It is my opinion that, despite some skeletal collections might be unethically gathered by the 19th century anthropologists, the vanished human populations must be genetically studied. If not, after contribute to their disappearance, we will be now ignoring their contribution to the humankind diversity.

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Lalueza Fox, C. Ancient DNA studies and new bioethic problems. Hum. Evol. 12, 287–290 (1997).

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