The Menzies Centre was opened in 1988, established by grants from the Menzies Foundation in Melbourne, and the Tasmanian government. Its mission is to conduct research to explore environmental and genetic causes of disease using the 'unique' features of the Tasmanian population. Because of Tasmania's isolation and geographic and population size, it is possible to study all cases for many diseases. This allows researchers to obtain the most valid insights. Another advantage is that approximately 60 percent of the population are descended from founders who arrived by 1850. These families make possible highly sophisticated studies searching for genetic sources of disease. The Menzies Centre had eighty staff by 2003. It is best recognised internationally for its research contributing evidence that a major cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome was the prone sleeping position.