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Comment & Response
July 5, 2016

Cadaver Exome Sequencing for Teaching First-Year Medical Students

Author Affiliations
  • 1Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 2Brandenburg Medical School, Neuruppin, Germany
  • 3Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2016;316(1):102-103. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4754

To the Editor Dr Gerhard and colleagues described the use of exome analysis of willed bodies to teach first-year medical students.1 Although we think the educational value of this approach is laudable, there are concerns about the ethical aspects of the method.

Little has been written about the ethics of analyzing genetic information from donated bodies. The current International Federation of Associations of Anatomists' guidelines for ethical practice involving donated cadavers produced by its Federative International Committee for Ethics and Medical Humanities stress the importance of ethical issues; however, they do not cover the specific subject of exome analysis.2 Consideration of ethical issues is important to respect the dignity of the donors as well as to protect the reputation and trust between body donor programs and the public.3

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