Keeping an eye on the Japanese genome

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 08:31 in Biology & Nature

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common disease that can result in blindness. It is caused by cell death in the eye’s retina, which is partly responsible for transforming visual stimuli into electrical signals to the brain. Asian populations tend to exhibit a particular type of the disease, called exudative AMD, which includes changes in the blood vessels of the eye. Caucasians, however, tend to exhibit AMD without these vascular abnormalities. Now, a research team led by Michiaki Kubo at the RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine in Yokohama has identified four genomic areas that increase the risk for exudative AMD in Japanese individuals.

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