This morning nominations for the prestigious Australian Museum’s Eureka Prizes were released and the Australian Centre for DNA – lead by Prof Alan Cooper has been nominated Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research.
The centre has been nominated for their Aboriginal Heritage Project, which was published in Nature this year, lead by Dr Ray Tobler. The collaboration with the SA Museum analysed mitochondrial DNA from 111 hair samples that were collected during a series of remarkable anthropological expeditions across Australia from 1928 to the 1970s and are part of the South Australian Museum’s unparalleled collection of hair samples.
Their work reinforce Aboriginal communities’ strong connection to country and represent the first detailed genetic map of Aboriginal Australia prior to the arrival of Europeans.
A central pillar of the Aboriginal Heritage Project was that Aboriginal families and communities have been closely involved with the project from its inception and that analyses are only conducted with their consent. Importantly, results are first discussed with the families to get Aboriginal perspectives before scientific publication. The research model was developed under the guidance of Aboriginal elders, the Genographic Project, and professional ethicists.
Feature image credit to Brad Griffen Photography.