New insight into blindness

September 4, 2012

SINGAPORE scientists have identified three new genes that are linked to a higher risk of blindness in Chinese people.

They discovered that the genes are associated with primary angle closure glaucoma, which causes blindness.

The disease affects 15 million people worldwide, 80% of whom live in Asia.

The research, which was published in science journal Nature Genetics on Aug 26, could help identify at-risk people earlier and lead to new treatments.

The work was a collaboration between the Singapore Eye Research Centre, Singapore National Eye Centre, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Genome Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore, National University Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The scientists studied the disease’s genetics using more than 22,000 disease and control samples from all over the world.

These included samples from about 9,300 Singaporeans, of which about 1,300 had the disease.

Prof Aung Tin, the project’s lead principal investigator, said in a statement yesterday: “This provides further evidence that genetic factors play a role in development of (the glaucoma).

“The results may lead to new insights into the disease and open the possibility of novel treatments in the future.” — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Source: The Star

Category: Education

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