chapter  40
12 Pages

In pursuit of genomic justice

Sovereignty, inclusion, and innovation in Mexico
WithEmily E. Vasquez, Vivette García-Deister

In Mexico, policymakers, scientific entrepreneurs, and one of Latin America’s most powerful health philanthropies, the Carlos Slim Foundation, saw in genomics the potential to improve public health outcomes and reduce health care costs. Justice claims in the arena of genomics initially emerged in Mexico in the early 2000s among lobbyists–an elite group of scientists, politicians, and entrepreneurs –who urged federal investment in the emergent field of genomic medicine. Diabetes Prevent is the kind of technological innovation that proves possible a re-articulation of what public health can and likely should be. The inclusion paradigm espoused by Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine (SIGMA) was entangled with Slim’s commercial interests, a condition from SIGMA’s start, which aligned an understanding of genetic populations with a market-based vision of regional cohesion–an example of ‘genomic branding’. Scientists found and took advantage of leeway in Mexico’s ‘genomic sovereignty’ policy which regulated only the circulation abroad of tissue and blood samples, but not the data extracted from them.