Sudden and unexplained deaths of the young have always haunted the people of the Faroe Islands. Boys and girls in their early twenties have passed away sleeping or dancing. Their hearts have simply stopped beating. 


The reason for the mysterious deaths was found in the late 1990s. It was a rare inherited genetical disorder called carnitine transporter deficiency, CTD, which is a gene mutation. People with CTD can´t absorb fat in their body cells and therefore hearts can´t get the energy they need. So hearts fail. There are no elderly people with the deathliest mutation of CTD because they have all died young.

Since 2009 the Faroese have had a possibility to test their carnitine levels for the gene mutation. Around 31 000 people have had the test so far. It is known that at least some 150 people in the Faroe Islands have the deathly mutation of CTD. From a total of 50 000 inhabitants it makes one in every 300. CTD is 1000 times more common in the Faroe Islands than anywhere else in the world. As many as one in eight are carriers of the gene. More people are found monthly.

In the remote islands, thousands of kilometres from the continent, the gene pool has naturally been very limited. Everyone is somehow related and most people have their family trees tracked down all the way to the vikings. The deathly gene has had a change to evolve over generations.

The broken offspring of the vikings. 2015


The whole layout here.

Rannvá Sólsker, 14.

The little sister of Rannvá has CTD. In the island of Sandoy, almost everyone is related.

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Mia Helmsdal Clothier, 15.

Mia took the CTD test five years ago. Luckily she doesn't carry the gene.

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Ninna Karlina Á Høvdanum, 16. 

Ninna Karlina has a mild case of CTD. She takes the medicine just in case.

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Sigmar Ovason Nysted, 16. 

The family of Sigmar (on the left) is from a small island of just 20 people and he knows CTD runs in the family. But he doesn´t think the test is something for him.

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Marin Jakobsen, 14. 

Marin´s mother carries the CTD gene and her cousin has it. Fortunately she is healthy.

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Brandur Dalsgarð, 17

Brandur, on the right, carries the CTD gene. He doesn't really think about it.

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Harald Egholm, 9.
Harald has the dangerous mutation of CTD.  

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Anna Elisabeth Krog Hentze, 9 and Armgard Krog Hentze, 5.

The sisters both have the dangerous mutation of CTD. They eat medicine four times a day.

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