Blog scientist
Oceans on brink of mass extinction: study
Brain exercises delay mental decline
Meaning of life changes across cosmos
Ancient Nubians drank antibiotic beer
First mission to touch the Sun
There's gold in them thar bacteria!
Low vitamin D linked to schizophrenia
Weight loss may be toxic: study
Pilbara find points to earliest life
Researchers uncover dance moves to impress
Visual trickery key to luring lover
Scientists find short-sightedness gene
Artificial 'skin' can sense pressure
Study confirms antibiotics mess with gut
Phone chatter could power mobiles
Stowaways found hitching ride on seaweed
Fishing could feed millions more: report
Amateurs make an astronomical impact
Study reveals new piece in autism puzzle
Genome map may help devil fight cancer
Report says ozone layer depletion stopped
Moon's surface at saturation point
Gene sweeps nets female cancer clues
Australia birthplace of astronomy: study
Scientists find short-sightedness gene
Scientists say they are one step closer to solving the most common eye disorder in the world - myopia or short-sightedness.

An international genetic research project studying more than 13,000 twins has uncovered a key gene that causes the disorder.

Professor David Mackey, an ophthalmologist at the Lions Eye Institute in Western Australia, was part of the project to identify the exact genes responsible for myopia.

The international study, which included researchers from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, appears today in the journal Nature Genetics.

"We analyse usually around 600,000 DNA markers and find which markers tend to run more commonly with the feature that we are measuring - in this case myopia," says Mackey.

"And in collaboration with the twin research group in London we have been able to identify one new gene associated with myopia, mainly in older people."
Myopia epidemic

Mackey says three million Australians suffer from the condition, but there has been a myopia epidemic across Asia.

"Particularly Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and now the large developing cities in China, [where] a majority of children when they finish high school are myopic, needing to wear glasses," he says.

"Now this is something that has happened really in the last 50 years and we are not sure what it is that led to this epidemic but we suspect that the east Asians are more genetically predisposed to getting myopia.

"Therefore understanding the underlying mechanism is of great importance, particularly if we are not having to supply glasses to the entire population of east Asia."

Mackey says this gene is one of a dozen that need to be identified to help solve the bigger puzzle.

But he hopes the breakthrough will help develop new treatments and identify risk factors for the condition.

"One of these particular genes involved in the risk of myopia is something that we can actually develop a drug to intervene for, or we may be able to come up with other treatments, such as whether people should or shouldn't wear glasses all the time, whether they should get outdoors, or how much reading should they be doing," he says.

"All of these are factors that have been proposed as risk factors for developing myopia in those who are predisposed to get it."

Census charts world beneath the seas
Wonder carbon nets pair Nobel Physics Prize
Focus on chest for CPR: study
Bull ants have right eye for the job
Carbon chemistry pioneers share prize
Ancient galaxies found in modern universe
Solar surprise for climate models
Study predicts end of world as we know it
Rare plant has biggest genome yet found
Astronomers find long-lost lunar rover
Flight paths may be bad for the heart
Complex Haitian quake triggered tsunamis
US doctors usher in 'dawn of stem cell age'
Changing demographics impact CO2 levels
Sleeping in lit room leads to weight gain
Harsh conditions create sterile workers
Study finds pigeons love a flutter
Humpback whale beats long-distance record
Survey to dive deep into Australian waters
Bad jobs affect mental health
Hubble captures suspected asteroid crash
Mysterious pulsar has astronomers in a spin
Native rice may hold key to food future
Future LEDs may be what the doctor orders
Bilingualism good for the brain
Organ consent needs thought transplant
Cavemen ground flour, prepped veggies
Fossilised iceblocks shed light on early life
Water on Moon bad news for astronomy
Human eye evolved to see dark world
Wind could have parted sea for Moses
CERN scientists spot potential discovery
Malaria crossed to humans from gorillas
Horny find uncovers Triceratops' predecessor
Time passes quicker for high flyers
Da Vinci's ornithopter takes flight
Software smart bomb aimed at Iran: experts
High oestrogen levels may impact brain
Quantum leap towards computer of the future
Study finds predictive power of search
Cardio routine can nurture sweet dreams
Restored Apollo 11 footage to be screened
'Extinct' animals back from the dead
Astronomers find home away from home
Study locates our sense of direction
Records reveal First Fleet's wet welcome
Dinosaurs taller thanks to thick cartilage
Free mammograms 'should start at 40'
Grunting slows opponent's reaction time
Colour preferences shaped by experience
Father of IVF wins Nobel prize
Happiness more than gene deep
Visit Statistics