Why Iceland Is the World’s Greatest Genetic Laboratory

Today, the journal Nature Genetics released a set of four papers based entirely on the genetic sequences of Icelanders. Their results, which range from the identification of a new Alzheimer’s-associated gene to the age of the most recent male ancestor shared by all humans, are part of a long history of genetic discoveries from deCODE, a company that has been collecting and analyzing Icelandic genomes for 18 years. Their findings will help guide medical research and the understanding of human evolution. But more important than the results themselves are where they came from—and what that origin story says about the future of genetic research.

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