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Worldwide collaboration 'uncovers new genes linked to glaucoma risk' - research

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Research led by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and Harvard Medical School has significantly increased our understanding of the genetics of glaucoma, identifying 44 previously unknown genes linked to a person’s risk of developing the degenerative eye disease.

The findings of the large, international study take the total number of genes now known to increase a person’s glaucoma risk to 127. The research also shows that most of the genes are shared across different ethnic ancestry groups.

The findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Glaucoma causes a progressive degeneration of the optic nerve. It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness globally, affecting more than 75 million people.

The head of QIMR Berghofer’s Statistical Genetics group and co-senior researcher on the study, Professor Stuart MacGregor, said the 44 identified risk genes uncover new biological processes, such as immune function, associated with glaucoma.

"Glaucoma is one of the most strongly genetic human diseases, which is why we are looking at the genetic architecture of the disease to find clues on how to prevent and treat it," Professor MacGregor said.

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