Segments in this Video

Mapping the Genome (03:28)


CNN’s Sanjay Gupta visits Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, to meet geneticist Kari Stefansson. His company, deCODE, has mapped the genome of a large part of Iceland’s population. His team has identified genes that impact the chances of developing heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Perfect Control Group (01:58)

Iceland’s small population is relatively homogenous, with little diversity in its gene pool, making it an ideal control group for deCODE. Sean Harper of deCODE’s parent company, Amgen, discusses a promising new drug for heart disease.

Ethical Issues (01:50)

But not everyone agrees with what deCODE is doing; critics raise questions about privacy and what to do with all this information. For now, all the data is encrypted and anonymous, but Stefansson hopes that will change in the name of preventing disease.

Genealogical Records (05:21)

The University of Iceland’s manuscript archives contain genealogical records that go back a thousand years. Stefansson shows Gupta a detailed family tree that traces a history of asthma back to an ancestor in the 1600s, illustrating how crucial such records are to his research.

Myeloma Study (02:58)

Gupta visits the fishing town of Akranes which has a higher-than-average rate of multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer that forms in bone marrow. The International Myeloma Foundation has teamed up with researchers in Iceland to study the disease.

Northern Lights and "Hot Pots" (05:39)

Gupta interviews Valdimar Hafstein of the University of Iceland and takes a dip at a local “hot pot.” These geothermal pools are a focal point of communal life, contributing to Iceland’s reputation as one of the happiest countries on Earth.

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Part of the Series : Vital Signs
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Iceland is an isolated island nation with a stunning landscape that features icy glaciers, cozy hot springs and explosive volcanoes. Iceland also has the perfect population for a research revolution. An ambitious project is mapping the genome of the entire population, gaining valuable insight into diseases like Alzheimer's, heart disease, and some cancers. It would not be possible without detailed records dating back some 1,000 years, when Vikings first landed on these shores. What is happening in Iceland could change the landscape for science and medicine for all of us around the world.

Length: 23 minutes

Item#: BVL187425

ISBN: 978-1-64623-320-5

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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