BBC News has an interesting article by Emma Jane Kirby describing a quandary within the country. deCODE Genetics, an Icelandic company, is asking all residents to donate DNA samples. About one-third of the country’s residents have done so and many others plan to do so. However, a minority of the people are questioning the wisdom and the privacy issues involved.
“In Iceland we have never had a proper debate about whether individuals who give samples should be notified if they have a risk of cancer for example. Who would want to know? Who wouldn’t?” asks Salvor Nordal, director of the Ethics faculty at the University of Iceland.
Iceland also has a database containing the genealogy of the entire nation dating back 1,100 years. First settlers arrived in the 870s – 60-80% of them were of Nordic stock from Norway, the rest mainly Celtic. Combining the database with DNA samples of present-day residents presumably will produce one of the most powerful DNA tools available. deCODE’s geneticists can use computational methods to calculate the odds of whether an individual carries a particular genetic variant without directly sequencing their DNA, if it knows the DNA of that individual’s relatives.
You can read the full story at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27903831.