A recent study has linked additional genes with the onset of age-related macular degeneration, one of the main causes of blindness among adults.
According to the research, conducted the National Eye Institute and published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there are three new genes associated with the disease, two of which are involved in the cholesterol pathway.
Dr Paul Sieving, director of the institute, said the study was made possible by a "community-wide scientific collaboration" of sharing DNA samples and analysing the genomes of more than 18,000 people, and may lead to new identification techniques for AMD.
"This study increases our understanding of DNA variations that predict individual risks of AMD and provides clues for developing effective therapies," he explained.
Recent research conducted at the University of California Los Angeles found that smoking regularly, even after the age of 80, can increase the risk of AMD.
by Martin Burns