S'pore scientists find genes associated with glaucoma

SINGAPORE - Singapore scientists have identified three new genes associated with Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma (PACG), a leading cause of blindness in Chinese people.

PACG affects about 15 million people worldwide, 80 per cent of whom live in Asia.

The finding confirms a long-standing suspicion that the disease is strongly hereditary, said Professor Aung Tin, the lead principal investigator and head of glaucoma service at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC).

This provides new insights into the potential of early identification of people at risk of the disease, he said.

In addition, the genetic link opens another door to the possibility of tailoring treatments based on individual genetic profiles, said Dr Khor Chiea Chuen, principal investigator of human genetics at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS).

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Genetics, was reached collaboratively by scientists from SNEC, GIS, Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), National University of Singapore (NUS), National University Hospital's Department of Ophthalmology and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The genes were identified through a genome-wide association study of PACG cases and control specimens of sample collections in Asia and around the world.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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