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The National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG) was launched today by the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.
The NCIG aims to establish a national resource, under Indigenous governance, for appropriate and respectful genetic and genomic research that will benefit Indigenous Australians, and assist in Closing the gap on Indigenous health and life expectancy.
ANU holds a substantial collection of biological samples obtained from Indigenous Australians for the purposes of scientific research between the 1960s and early 1990s. By the late 1990s, ethical concerns about using the samples led to a voluntary moratorium on research. Over the last three years, ANU has sought advice on how the collection should be managed for the benefit of Indigenous Australians.
The NGIC Governance Board will be chaired by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice commissioner Mick Gooda. 'This new centre is a watershed moment for Indigenous health research,' Mr Gooda said. 'Looking at how our genes are influenced by the environment can answer some important questions for Indigenous health, like how trauma can affect health across generations.'
Mr Gooda will be supported by board members Professor Mick Dodson, Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at ANU, Professor Ian Anderson, Director of the Murrrup Barak Centre for Indigenous Development at the University of Melbourne, and Dr Misty Jenkins, winner of the 2013 L’Oreal Women in Science Fellowship.
From 2014, NCIG will begin a process of consultation with Indigenous communities and families who donated samples held at the ANU.
National Centre for Indigenous Genomics
The John Curtin School of Medical Research
The Australian National University
Building 131 Garran Road
Acton ACT 2600
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: (02) 6125 1811
Freecall: 1800 100 912