TORSHAVN, Faroe Islands -- The tiny, windswept Faroe Islands, halfway between Scotland and Iceland, are so barren that their 50,000 inhabitants import almost everything except fish and sheep. Now the Faroes want to leap to the frontier of genetic medicine.A proposed plan would decipher the complete DNA sequence of every citizen, from its fishermen to the prime minister, using the data for medical treatment and research. Scientists already see the Faroes becoming a model for the use of human genomes."We're feeling our way right now to figure out if this new technology can really benefit individual patients and populations," said James Evans, a geneticist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "It's really important that they do it right."Like an ethical petri dish, the Faroes are incubating debate about issues of privacy, ownership and the utility of DNA accessible in everyday medical decisions. Questions range from how to protect information, when it's appropriate to use and whether it might heighten discrimination against the mentally ill and people with inherited diseases."People will inevitably find out things that they don't wish to know," Evans said. "They're guaranteed to find some mutations that predispose people to untreatable, unpreventable and severe disease."Settled by wayward vikings in the 9th century, the small size and isolation of the Faroe Islands have given rise to a population that's vulnerable to disorders caused by recessive genes. One, carnitine transporter deficiency, is 1,000 times more common in the Faroes than the rest of the world.