It is estimated that about 90% of the population in Iceland is pure Icelandic. For this reason, geneticists have been attracted to Iceland and their gene pool to conduct experiments and do research. A company called deCODE was created in an effort to map the genome of Iceland (about 332,000 individuals). The deCODE team has identified genes that effect the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. About 1% of the Icelandic population has a rare gene variance that completely protects an individual from developing Alzheimer’s. Using this information about the genetic variant, researchers are now working to replicate what this gene does in order to use it for medicinal purposes.
The research presented in this article is incredibly promising for the field of medicine. Alzheimer’s has been a bit of a mystery, and remains as one to this day. There is no conclusive evidence on why or how people get it, and there is certainly no cure for it. With the genetics research being done by the deCODE team, perhaps some day we will be able to treat this disease. Similar research could shed light on other conditions or diseases, ultimately leading to more cures, preventions, and treatments.
I never thought of Iceland as the best spot for a geneticist to do a study until I read this article. It is amazing that people could only live on about 10% of Iceland because the other percent is pure Icelandic. This small population leads to a small gene pool. Having a smaller gene pool makes it easier to map out a genome. Sequencing a genome has many benefits to scientists which can lead to new discoveries. Alzheimer's like stated is still a mystery. I find it interesting how a minimal amount of information has been discovered about it even though many scholars study this topic. Doctors and scientists are not even exactly sure as to why some individuals obtain this disease. Hopefully, researchers can reveal new findings on Alzheimer's from the company deCODEs work.ReplyDelete
It's crazy to think how isolated Iceland has been all these thousands of years! Especially coming from a country that was literally made by different ethnicity/races coming together to form what we are today. I wonder what other geographic locations are out there that have also been isolated for as long. I'm curious though as to what exactly is the rare gene variance that 1% of the population has that makes them immune to this disease. Even if there is still not a cure for it, it's amazing that we have made that kind of progress! Hopefully this will lead to at least a treatment for this disease, and possibly even a cure.ReplyDelete
That's interesting. I never thought that citizens of a country could be 100% that ethnicity. I think we see Iceland as a cold, distant nation that doesn't have many inhabitants so we kind of dismiss it. Obviously it's wrong to do so considering 1% of the population has a gene variant that'll protect them from Alzheimer's. Research sounds promising and I hope they're able to figure out the variant and use it for medicinal purposes.ReplyDelete
This is a great article! This rare gene variance can lead to many new treatments for Alzheimer's Disease and could even be the missing element for a cure. After reading the article, it was interesting to learn that Iceland's population is extremely homologous and because of this, it is quite simple to find variants.ReplyDelete
Seeing as though I want to become a Neurologist, this article really interested me. This is a huge stepping stone to not only treating Alzheimer's, but possibly many other types of neurological disorders. I'm curious if there are other people who are not Icelandic that have the same protection against Alzheimer's as well.ReplyDelete