A study by the Washington University School of Medicine has identified some genetic variants specific to people of Finnish origin. According to the researchers, the genes in question could increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia. Indirectly, they could therefore be linked to an increase in the probability of contracting cardiovascular diseases.
The study authors identified 26 genetic variations relevant for cardiovascular and metabolic health. Of these, 19 are peculiar to Finnish or Finnish origin individuals. It is calculated that they are 20 times more frequent in Finland than in the rest of Europe.
The population of the country is in fact isolated and characterized by a relatively similar genetic heritage. Finland is a country that has remained isolated for centuries, with very little immigration throughout history. Over the years, there have been at least two disastrous events that caused a collapse in the population. As a result, today's Finns all come from a limited range of genetic assets. This caused the formation of a group of diseases specific to that area, called Finnish Disease Heritage.
The disorders in question are not part of the list: they are too subtle. Yet the study showed a correlation between these "Finnish" anomalies and metabolic and cardiac disorders. The researchers would like to see if there are similar cases in other isolated populations, such as those in the South Pacific Samoa.