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Designing a post-genomics knowledge ecosystem to translate pharmacogenomics into public health action


Authors: Dove, E.; Faraj, S.; Kolker, E.; Ozdemir, V.


Translation of pharmacogenomics to public health action is at the epicenter of the life sciences agenda. Post-genomics knowledge is simultaneously coproduced at multiple scales and locales by scientists, crowd-sourcing and biological citizens. The latter are entrepreneurial citizens who are autonomous, self-governing and increasingly conceptualizing themselves in biological terms, ostensibly taking responsibility for their own health, and engaging in patient advocacy and health activism. By studying these heterogeneous ‘scientific cultures’, we can locate innovative parameters of collective action to move pharmacogenomics to practice (personalized therapeutics). To this end, we reconceptualize knowledge-based innovation as a complex ecosystem comprising ‘actors’ and ‘narrators’. For robust knowledge translation, we require a nested postgenomics technology governance system composed of first-order narrators (for example, social scientists, philosophers, bioethicists) situated at arm’s length from innovation actors (for example, pharmacogenomics scientists). Yet, second-order narrators (for example, an independent and possibly crowd-funded think-tank of citizen scholars, marginalized groups and knowledge end-users) are crucial to prevent first-order narrators from gaining excessive power that can be misused in the course of steering innovations. To operate such ‘self-calibrating’ and nested innovation ecosystems, we introduce the concept of ‘wiki-governance’ to enable mutual and iterative learning among innovation actors and first- and second-order narrators.

Read full paper: Genome Medicine, 2012