Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

PolyU scientists help identify genes causing myopia

04.06.2013
Two researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University have been collaborating with the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM) in a global study, which identified 24 genes leading to short-sightedness, thus paved the way for further research on the prevention and control of myopia.
Two researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) are taking an active role in a global study which has unlocked the genetic origin of myopia. Through their collaboration with the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM), 24 genes leading to short-sightedness have been identified, thus paving the way for further research on the prevention and control of myopia.

This largest international genome-wide study was based on the meta-analysis of 45,758 subjects, including 37,382 individuals of European ancestry and 8,376 from Asian countries, with the concerted efforts of 64 universities and research institutes in 13 countries. On Hong Kong side, joining the CREAM are Dr Jeremy Guggenheim, Associate Professor at PolyU's School of Optometry, and Professor Yip Shea-ping, Associate Head (Research) of PolyU's Department of Health Technology and Informatics. Both of them are also members of PolyU's Centre for Myopia Research.

PolyU researchers also noted that over the past 30 years, the number of Hong Kong children developing myopia has risen alarmingly. This year, about 80 per cent will have the condition by the time they leave school. Similarly high rates of myopia are seen in cities on the Chinese mainland, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

People with myopia have longer than normal eyeballs, which result in their focusing of images in front of their retinas instead of on them. It is estimated that up to 80% of Asians and 30% of Caucasians are myopic, and high myopia can lead to blindness. Environmental risk factors may have played a large part in increasing the prevalence in Asia over the past half-century, such as children spending less time doing outdoor activities due to dense urbanisation and parental pressure to do well academically.

"It is important to identify genetic factors because they could open the door to developing drugs that can hinder myopia. We now have a long list of genes to examine in details, to find out how they put children at risk," explained PolyU optometry expert Dr Guggenheim.

Instead of recruiting subjects or families with high degrees of myopia, the meta-analyses examined data of unselected subjects from health studies, which would be more representative of people around the world.

"We have found 16 new loci of genes for refractive error in people of European descent, of which 8 loci are shared with people of Chinese, Indian or Malay descent. In addition, we have confirmed a further 8 associated loci." said Professor Yip.

The consortium also identified new candidate genes involved in possible mechanisms linked to eye growth and myopia. Some of the genes may be involved in the growth of the sclera, the white outer layer of the eyeball, while other genes may be involved in determining the strength of chemical signals generated by the retina when viewing images, which may influence the onset and progression of myopia.

According to this study, people with all the genetic risk factors have a tenfold-increased risk of developing myopia.

The findings have recently been published in Nature Genetics.

Regina Yu | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.polyu.edu.hk
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>