Genes on Board

Why would Vikings need extra iron in their blood?

People with hemochromatosis absorb too much iron from their food. Everyone needs iron—it helps blood do its job. But absorbing too much iron damages the heart, liver, and other organs. People with this disorder must have their blood drawn periodically to keep from getting sick.

Many Vikings had hemochromatosis. Some scientists think that the extra iron may have helped these seafaring Scandinavians. Can you guess why? Look through these ideas and pick your favorite. Then move your cursor over it to see if it's correct.