Genome and Nation
Iceland's Health Sector Database and its Legacy
Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization | Spring 2006David E. Winickoff
Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization
Although it may seem an unlikely place for innovation of global significance, the small island nation of Iceland has assumed near iconic status in one field in particular: genomics. Aided by recent advances in genetic technologies and by a bold entrepreneurial vision, Iceland's genomic innovations have helped transform medical and genealogical information into a new type of global commodity.
In this article, David E. Winickoff argues that generating the next round of genetic discoveries will require a large number of "health information altruists" to supply health and DNA data and DNA. He cites the Icelandic government's ability to construct a "national genomic databank," in collaboration with deCODE Genetics Inc., as an example of the public's altruism.
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