Aboriginal families to be consulted about blood samples of family members collected decades ago

Friday 22 April 2016

By identifying that particular genetic make up, we are able to come up with particular health benefits that have not been thought of.

Consultation is underway in Western Australia's north about whether Aboriginal families are happy to have their blood samples studied and kept.

Between the 1960s and the early 1990s, scientists took blood samples from about 7,000 people in Indigenous communities across Australia as part of ongoing research into Indigenous genetics.

The collection is held at the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG), set up in 2013 at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

From the late 1990s until the centre was established, there was a moratorium on the use of genetic material collected by ANU researchers as they waited for appropriate ethical guidelines.

Now the centre is seeking to learn if families are happy for those samples to be used for medical and genealogical research that would benefit Indigenous communities in the future.

The head of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), Wes Morris, said representatives would be travelling through the Kimberley this month.

"We have been having a dialogue with NCIG for about 18 months," Mr Morris said.

"As an outcome, what is planned is a 20-day consultation tour in the Kimberley."

For full article please click link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-22/aboriginal-families-to-be-consulted-about-blood-samples/7349798

Updated:  25 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, NCIG/Page Contact:  Web Admin, NCIG