Experts believe they have found the gene responsible for the development of the eye condition Fuchs corneal dystrophy.
According to experts at the University of Oregon led by scientist Dr Albert O Edwards, they found an alteration in the transcription-factor-4 gene (TCF4), which leads to the condition generally emerging in middle-aged people.
Dr Edwards, a senior research associate in the University of Oregon"s Institute of Molecular Biology, said that having the TCF4 gene variation has a "huge impact" on the risk of Fuchs disease.
"It vastly exceeds the risk found previously for the complement-factor-H gene in macular degeneration. If a person has risk variants involving TCF4, that individual is anywhere from several to a couple of hundred times more likely to have Fuchs disease," he noted.
The research comes after a study carried out by experts at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts showed that on-viral gene therapy can delay the onset of some forms of eye disease and preserve vision.
by Martin Burns