This item originally appeared in the July 21st issue of Pulse.
Murray Brilliant, Ph.D., Center for Human Genetics director, was featured on the PBS station Seven Network in Australia for his studies of albinism in Tanzania, Africa.
To watch the interview, click here.
Dr. Brilliant studies albinism throughout the world, especially in Tanzania and East Africa.
“If you have albinism, you’re subject to being murdered for your body parts,” Dr. Brilliant said. “Witch doctors use their bones for potions that are said to help you find things. Bones are more potent from a young person and more from younger girls than boys. So a little girl’s femur could go for $3,000.”
He said this potion is said to help someone find gold, diamonds and tanzanite. If you use the potion, politicians are also said to find votes. That means murders go up before elections.
The Australian TV station reached out to him for the interview and he’s been interviewed by TV stations in England and Panama for his research on albinism as well. He’s been invited to meetings all over the world to discuss albinism, including in Australia as well.
“Marshfield Clinic is one of the few places where we study albinism,” Dr. Brilliant said. “We look at genetic mutations that lead to albinism and how it affects vision. People with albinism have poor vision and are often legally blind.”
“I think it’s important for me to get the word out and that people with albinism are just as human and deserve human rights as anyone else,” Dr. Brilliant said.
He says the next step in his studies is working on improving vision for people with albinism through clinical trials.