"These islands have some of the highest rates of MS in the world and are less complex genetically than urban populations, which is an advantage for finding genes.
The two-year project aims to collect DNA samples from all willing patients and a set of controls, who do not have the disease.
A genome-wide scan will be performed using hundreds of thousands of DNA markers.
The data will then be analysed using homozygosity mapping, a powerful approach which depends on shared ancestry and which has recently successfully located new genes influencing the risk of autism.
Exploring the basic mechanisms underlying susceptibility to MS will increase our knowledge of the disease so that new means of diagnosis and treatment might be identified."
Anyone interested in taking part in the study can call 0131 651 1643 or email Orkney@ed.ac.uk
There's a chart with countries and MS prevalance as part of the article. Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan have very low MS numbers. Interesting,