Following our community engagement processes, individuals and families will be invited to consent to including their sample in the NCIG research collection. Where consent is granted, genomes from the samples will be sequenced, and the sample and genome sequence data will be available to researchers for approved research projects. $500,000 funding has been provided by Bioplatforms Australia for the sequencing. The sequencing will be completed at two nodes of Bioplatforms Australia, the Biomolecular Resource Facility at The John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU, in Canberra, and the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, at The Garvan Institute, Sydney.
For historical reasons, sequences in the databases today are mainly from people of European ancestry. As a result, genome sequences of most other people cannot currently be meaningfully interpreted. Continued exclusion of ancestrally diverse people will mean that advances in genomic medicine, far from helping to alleviate health inequalities, will actually increase the health gap.
In concert with the genomic sequencing of the samples is highly specialised work called “bioinformatics”. This is the number-crunching which processes and interprets the raw data extracted from the genetic sequences. NCIG uses the services of the ANU Bioinformatics Consulting Unit (ABC) and the National Computing Infrastructure (NCI), for transport, storage and analysis of data.
Ultimately, the aim of NCIG is to create a national database of Indigenous genomic sequences under Indigenous governance.