Researchers have sequenced the exomes of 473 individuals as part of the first phase of the Faroe Genome Project (FarGen), which aims to develop a reference catalog for the isolated archipelago nation. As the researchers report in the European Journal of Human Genetics, the FarGen cohort includes more than 1,500 individuals from the Faroe Islands, a portion of whom were analyzed in this first phase. Through this, the researchers uncovered more than 148,000 genetic variants within the population, though few rare variants. They did note, however, that 19 of the variants they found were classified as pathogenic or likely pathogenic in ClinVar and that many of these variants were linked to monogenetic disease that are known to be more common among Faroese individuals. A principal components analysis further pointed to limited geographical structure within the Faroe Island population and underscored its homogeneity. “The FarGen Phase I dataset is an important step for genetic research in the Faroese population, and the next phase of FarGen will increase the sample size and broaden the scope,” the researchers write.
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