Indigenous peoples across Canada face more barriers to health-care access than non-Indigenous Canadians, leading to poorer health outcomes. Although the rapid development of genomic technologies is advancing precision medicine—tailoring medical treatments to the specific needs of individuals—it is also widening the health inequity gap. Indigenous populations often have little or no access to genomic technologies and the research that drives them, thus intensifying the “genomic divide.” A key concern is the lack of background genetic variation data for Indigenous populations. This prevents accurate diagnosis because of the absence of the reference data needed for precise genetic diagnosis.
Silent Genomes is a game-changing partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples that will improve health outcomes for Indigenous children by enabling access to diagnosis and treatment of genetic disease. The project aims to establish processes for Indigenous governance of biological samples and genomic data; lead to policy guidelines and best practice models, bringing equitable genomic testing to Indigenous children with suspected genetic diagnosis; and develop an Indigenous Background Variant Library of genetic variation from a diverse group of First Nations.
In partnership with Genome BC