Navajo Sign National Research Agreement

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 6:16pm
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The Navajo Nation has signed the first tribal data-sharing agreement for nationwide research.

The agreement allows for Johns Hopkins University and other researchers to build a large-scale database.

That research is part of a National Institutes of Health project studying the environmental influences on child health outcomes throughout the country.

Led by the University of New Mexico, the Navajo Birth Cohort Study is investigating the effects of the environmental exposure to uranium on babies currently being born.

While the tribe is not ready to share genetic data or biospecimens, the agreement allows researchers to continue to study the health impacts of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.

The agreement was created to respect Navajo cultural beliefs. The tribal government banned DNA studies in 2002 to prevent misuse of the genetic material.

In 2004, the Havasupai Tribe sued Arizona State University over alleged misuse of the tribal members' blood samples.

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