Faroe Islands Wants To Sequence The Genes Of Every One Of Its Citizens | PopSci

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The Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands look lovely! Very pretty place.

Wikimedia Commons

At least, everyone who wants it. But do they want it?

Welcome to the Faroe Islands, a beautiful rocky archipelago in the North Atlantic, a Danish territory located about halfway between Iceland and Scotland. It’s a small and ancient place, with a population of around only 50,000, but with a distinct language and its own take on Nordic culture. As a result of its relative isolation and small population, it has a very homogenous genetic pool, even by Scandinavian standards, which means it’s at risk for niche health problems that wouldn’t affect larger and more diverse countries.

After several Faroese died from a rare condition called carnitine transporter deficiency (CTD), the country’s ministry of health convinced more than half of the entire population of the country to submit blood samples to a giant centralized facility. The country’s aim is to get the sequenced genome of the whole country, enabling them to get a broader view of the health needs of the Faroese and hopefully enabling doctors to make more educated decisions about treatment.

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