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.