Monday, September 13, 2010

11.2 FAQ2 - gene of the week

The "gene of the week" phenomenon finally catches up with myopia. In headlines around the world today, news under the heading, e.g., "Genes for Myopia discovered" spreads like wildfire.

According to

"Researchers from the Department of Twin Research at King’s College London have identified genes associated with two common eye problems, myopia and glaucoma. The findings have been published in this week’s edition of Nature Genetics [see ‘A genome-wide association study for myopia and refractive error identifies a susceptibility locus at 15q25’. Pirro Hysi et al. Nature Genetics, 12 September 2010, doi:10.1038/ng.664]."

"In their study of over 4,000 twins, the researchers identified a myopia susceptibility gene called RASGRF1, which has been replicated in over 13,000 other people from the UK, the Netherlands and Australia."

According to Daily Mail, "Within just ten years, a drug that prevents short-sightedness or stops it in its tracks could be in widespread use."

However, "A second study, by Dutch researchers, identified a second short-sightedness gene. Ultimately, there could be dozens behind the condition."

There is more: "We hope that by understanding the mechanisms we can stop children from becoming shortsighted and stop short-sighted children from becoming more short-sighted."

Question: "Even though the mechanisms are still unknown, and yet, in 10 years, a drug can be developed to stop myopia?"

Answer: "Don't hold your breath."