Monday, April 17, 2017

Iceland is Providing Genetic Information to Cure Disease
In 1996, the company deCODE Genetics set out to find the genetic makeup of Iceland. What makes Iceland a prime location for this kind of testing is the presence of the founder affect means that most people can trace their genes back to a few individuals, which means there may be rare mutations that are more easily identified. Another factor that makes Iceland a good target for this kind of testing is that there are extensive records of family trees that date back 1185. Iceland also has the oldest census dating back from 1703. Using these records along with genetic analysis of the residents, deCODE has been able to find genes that contribute to Alzheimers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, schizophrenia, and a few more. A mutation that leads to decreased risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease was also found, and there are plans to try and develop drugs that can mimic this mutation. This study in Iceland has inspired many other countries to try and do similar genetic analysis on the residents in their country including the US, England, Ireland, France, Singapore, China, etc. I think that this a good idea as pharmacogenetics begins to expand. If countries already have a basis of the genes that are in their countries, it will make it easier to find ways to treat prevalent diseases and to find cures and preventative measures that other people may have in their genomes. 

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