In a paper published in the March issue of American Journal of Human Genetics, Kellogg scientist Anand Swaroop, Ph.D., and his team of researchers have confirmed three previously suggested loci (on chromosomes 1, 5, and 9) for potential AMD genes, and have identified two new loci on chromosomes 2 and 22.
AMD is a progressive disease that destroys central vision. There is no known cure for the disease, which affects millions of individuals worldwide. While scientists believe there is a strong genetic component, most believe the cause will be found in the interplay of several genes combined with environmental factors, such as smoking and diet.
Swaroop says that this study is significant because it confirms locations that have been suggested by other researchers, noting that cross-validation is important for complex diseases such as AMD.
"Our researchers have been able to build on past studies -- our own and a handful of others -- and now we are ready to begin the search for AMD susceptibility genes in earnest," says Swaroop, a professor of ophthalmology and of human genetics at the U-M Medical School. "We have identified very specific regions of the genome where we can intensify our research efforts."
Kellogg researchers narrowed the search for AMD-related genes by performing a high-resolution genome scan of all 23 pairs of participants' chromosomes, using over 700 DNA markers. Markers are known DNA segments that help define locations and regions on chromosomes. The markers were placed approximately five mega-bases apart (on average), thereby delimiting the regions on chromosomes where researchers can continue their search for susceptibilit
Contact: Betsy Nisbet
University of Michigan Health System