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Genetics in iwi health: a journey to understanding.

36 months
Approved budget:
Dr Julia Wilson
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Māori Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
Lay summary
Ten years ago a small East Coast iwi, Ngati Rakaipaaka, recognised that health problems could be caused by a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. Asking ‘How do our genes contribute to the health status of our people?’, they initiated the Rakaipaaka Health and Ancestry Study. However, the study did not go as planned, leaving the iwi with unanalysed genetic data. Ngati Rakaipaaka are still waiting for answers. We will complete those analyses and provide Ngati Rakaipaaka with the information they have been waiting for. We will also use this information to look for targeted therapeutic strategies, that may be of more benefit to Maori than current treatments. Genetic studies in Maori communities are rare. Therefore, through a reflective design, we will identify the key lessons for successful genetic studies with Maori communities, as well as disseminate the results and support the community to enable positive changes from the research.