UI professor receives grant from National Institutes of Health

UI professor receives grant from National Institutes of Health

A University of Iowa professor has received a grant for a project that looks at how scores measuring genetic influence on behaviors are utilized.

Anya Prince, a professor of law and faculty member of the UI Genetics Cluster Initiative, was awarded a four-year grant—it totals $2.7 million, with more than $485,000 awarded to the UI—from the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. The co-principal investigator is Jean Cadigan, associate professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The project will focus on the increasing development of sociogenomic polygenic scores (PGS) that may predict complex behaviors and traits. The development of these scores has the promise to improve genetic and social science research, but it can also exacerbate social inequities and disparities if not implemented carefully. Prince, Cadigan, and a research team from across the country will examine how the scores are being utilized and ascertain the ethical, legal, and social effects of their use.

“With an exploration of diverse viewpoints on the potential harms and benefits of sociogenomic PGS and assessment of the legal protections and barriers for implementation, this project seeks to better understand the ethical and social impacts of this new technology,” Prince says.

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