As far as mash-ups go, this is one for the books.
Situated between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are 540 square miles of brutal winters and Viking history. But this remoteness is what makes it appealing to the University of Florida.
According to a news statement, the relatively homogeneous population of Viking descendants provides scientists with a great sample population to study how genetic diseases are transmitted through generations. The Florida researchers will be focusing on glycogen storage disorder type III, a rare ailment that afflicts one in 100,000 people in the U.S. but one in 3,000 people in the Faroe Islands.
Type III glycogen storage disease is one of the rarest forms of the disease and is linked to all the places where the Vikings settled more than 1,000 years ago. The disease occurs because of a genetic glitch that prevents children's bodies from properly processing glycogen, stored sugar the body uses as fuel throughout the day. In children with this disease, stored sugar accumulates in the liver and muscles, including the heart, often causing it to grow so large it cannot function.