NCIG is creating a national Indigenous genomics resource available to researchers for projects that offer potential benefits to Indigenous Australians.
Research, data, knowledge and implementation of healthcare genomics are biased towards people of European ancestry. The underlying genomic data reference on which genomic medicine relies does not include data from Indigenous Australians, and in general, people with different or mixed ancestry are excluded from the studies for purely technical reasons associated with the statistical methods used in the analysis. The extent and significance of this bias and the importance of redressing it have received considerable recent attention in the scientific literature and are now well understood.
NCIG research is helping to break down technical barriers to Indigenous inclusion in genomics, just as its approach to governance and community consultation is breaking down cultural and other barriers to inclusion.
NCIG’s dual research focus is to generate and assemble genomic data to improve the quality and utility of the underlying reference; and to implement models for the conduct and governance of research that address ethical, cultural and social barriers to Indigenous inclusion.
Once the underlying reference is improved, there is a broad range of possible research questions that the collection could be used to address. Some offer potential benefit to society at large; others relate more specifically to donors, their relatives and descendants, and the broader Indigenous population.