TURKEY-HEALTH -Turkish doctors find gene causing blindness.
September 18 2011 (TUR) -- Turkish doctors have found a new gene
that causes blindness. Associate Professor Koksal Ozgul and M.D. Didem
Yucel Yilmaz, two researchers in metabolism unit at Hacettepe
University's Child Health Institute, Child Health and Diseases
Department, have discovered a new gene that causes retinitis pigmentosa,
publicly known as night blindness. "Almost 1.5 million people in
the world suffer from this problem," Ozgul told AA correspondent.
Ozgul said a couple resorted to their group after they learned that the
group was working on retinitis pigmentosa because they were suffering
from the problem but they wanted to have a child. "We got blood
samples from the couple, and made DNA analyses, and we found a mutation
in a new gene that enables seeing function but that has not been
identified before in retinitis pigmentosa patients," Ozgul said.
Ozgul said their group cooperated with Radboud University and European
Retina Diseases Consortium after identification of the gene. "Genes
of such patients were not analysed in the United States, Netherlands and
Israel, and gene mutation was seen in some of the patient, which proved
our discovery," Ozgul said. Ozgul said identification of the gene
had raised hopes for preventing blindness and for treatment of patients.
"Thanks to this gene, it will be possible to diagnose patients
before birth and research new treatment methods," Ozgul also said.
RP (retinis pigmentosa) is a type of progressive retinal dystrophy, a
group of inherited disorders in which abnormalities of the
photoreceptors (rods and cones) or the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)
of the retina lead to progressive visual loss. Affected individuals
first experience defective dark adaptation or nyctalopia (night
blindness), followed by reduction of the peripheral visual field (known
as tunnel vision) and, sometimes, loss of central vision late in the
course of the disease.
(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)