The Genetics of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

An international group of researchers discovered 7 regions of the human genome associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness. The group also confirmed 12 regions identified in previous studies. The findings may eventually lead to new treatment and prevention approaches to AMD.
AMD gradually destroys sharp, central vision as a person ages. The disease affects the macula, a region of the retina responsible for central vision. We rely on the macula for tasks that require sharp vision, such as reading, driving and recognizing faces. As AMD progresses, these tasks become more difficult. Some kinds of AMD are treatable if detected early, but no cure exists. An estimated 11 million Americans have AMD.
Scientists have found that age, diet and smoking influence the risk of developing AMD. Genetics also plays a strong role. AMD often runs in families and is more common among certain ethnicities, such as people of Asian or European descent. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have previously uncovered genetic factors linked to AMD risk. These studies involve scanning the entire human genome for genetic differences between people with AMD…
more: http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/march2013/03112013macular.htm

Source: NIH National Institutes of Health

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