A new DNA database system designed to improve health outcomes for First Nations Australians has been hailed a game-changer by experts.
A supercomputer will crunch the database to improve diagnostic rates for First Nations peoples living with rare genetic disorders and help them seek treatment earlier.
The project is being led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in collaboration with the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics, Oxford Nanopore and the National Computational Infrastructure.
Azure Hermes, a Gimuy Walubara Yidinji woman and deputy director at the Australian National University, said the technology was long-overdue.
"In Australia, infrastructure around genomic data has always been a little bit fraught," Ms Hermes said.
"It hasn't been great and I think what NCI is basically developing here is a safe and secure way where it can store data and it can be safe and secure."
Researchers will collect DNA samples from at least 500 First Nations Australians from communities across northern and central Australia.
Project lead Hardip Patel said in the past, researchers had not properly engaged First Nations communities.
"The systems were never inclusive," Dr Patel said.
"Researchers never approached the process of engaging with First Nations people properly and so that's the key barrier."
The project is still being developed and is funded by the federal government through a $986,000 medical research futures fund grant.
Australian Associated Press