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In ‘Ethical jurisdictions in bioethical research’, J.M. Mfutso-Bengu and T. Taylor describe a conflict between a host ethics committee in Malawi and a remote ethical committee in USA, concerning the wording of a consent form. The study in question involved the removal of the eyes of children who had died of malaria in order to study the relationship between retina abnormalities and concomitant histological findings. Consent for autopsy was requested from the parents. On the locally approved Malawian consent form, parents were told an autopsy would be performed, but eye removal was not mentioned specifically. The remote ethical committee in USA found the form unacceptably vague on this point.