Singapore: Scientists have isolated three new genes linked to Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma (PACG), a leading cause of blindness, which affects 15 million people worldwide, 80 percent of whom live in Asia.
A team of scientists carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1,854 PACG cases and 9,608 controls (who did not suffer from PACG) of over five sample collections in Asia. They performed validation experiments in another 1,917 PACG cases and 8,943 controls collected from a sample from around the world.
This research carried out by scientists from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), with Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), National University of Singapore (NUS), National University Hospital`s Department of Ophthalmology and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, is the first to study PACG genetics using a genome-wide perspective, the journal "Nature Genetics" reports.
This finding confirms the long-standing suspicion of Aung Tin, principal project investigator, who is professor of ophthalmology at NUS. Tin has worked on PACG for over 10 years and believes, from clinical observations, that the disease is strongly hereditary, according to a statement of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore.
"This provides further evidence that genetic factors play a role in development of PACG. The results may lead to new insights into disease understanding and open the possibility of novel treatments in the future as well as the potential of early identification of people at risk of the disease," said Tin.
SERI is the national body for ophthalmic and vision research in Singapore. The GIS is a research institute under the umbrella of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore.