Short sight gene identified

1 September 2015

A gene has been linked to the development of myopia in children who read more than average or carry out other forms of “nearwork” in their early years.

Researchers at the University of Columbia Medical Center found that young people with a genetic variant called APLP2 were five times more likely to become shortsighted if they spent more than an hour a day reading. Those with the gene that did not read as much did not shown any increased risk of myopia.

It is still not clear how APLP2 causes shortsightedness, but the researchers suspect that the variant may produce excessive protein that causes the eye to become overly elongated. Using laboratory tests, they were able to establish a causal link between the gene and myopia.

Lead researcher Andrei Tkatchenko said: "By reducing the level of APLP2 in the eye, you can reduce susceptibility to environmentally induced myopia. This gives us an opportunity to develop a therapy to prevent myopia in everyone, regardless of the APLP2 variant they carry."

Posted by Philip Briggs

 

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