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Hundreds of new links found between genes and eye disease

Over 250 new links have been made between genes and vision disorders as part of a study on mouse genetics.

The results of the research are helping develop a greater understanding of hereditary eye diseases in humans, and will potentially lead to the development of new treatments.

The research, undertaken at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), identified 347 mouse genes associated with vision, blindness or eye disease. Of these, 261 were previously not known.

“In 2018, if someone has a form of hereditary blindness, we can identify the cause 50–75% of the time,” UC Davis’ Dr Ala Moshiri said.

“In the remaining cases, we know the mutation is there but we don’t know where to look. Now eye centres that do DNA sequencing can call back patients and screen them for these new genes.”

The team hopes that by identifying the genes linked to eye disease, new therapies could be developed for hereditary conditions.

While mouse and human genomes are different, most human genes have a comparable counterpart in mice. The researchers from UC Davis are now collaborating with the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Iowa to identify the genes’ human equivalent.

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