New play takes on ‘informed consent’ issues in genetic studies

Play write Deborah Zoe Laufer learned she had four days to come up with a proposal for “a Sloan play,” an original work underwritten by the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project.

The collaboration between the New York theater and the philanthropic organization is meant to inspire science-based plays that “challenge the existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in the popular imagination.”

Beginning in 1990, members of the dwindling tribe living at the base of the Grand Canyon – a spectacular and isolated region accessible by horseback, hike or helicopter – began giving blood samples to researchers in the hope that they could discover the reasons behind the group’s deadly rate of diabetes.

When they learned that their DNA was being mined to study a series of other maladies – from alcoholism to schizophrenia – and migration patterns that flew in the face of the tribe’s creation myths and beliefs about its origins, they felt betrayed and took their complaints to court.

Read the full, original story: Cleveland Play House New Ground Theatre Festival opens with juicy genetics play ‘Informed Consent’

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