A genetic key to preventing vision loss?

Trinity College Dublin scientists have discovered a gene that could be targeted in treatments for sight loss


Scientists from Trinity College Dublin’s school of genetics and microbiology have pinpointed a gene that plays a pivotal role in vision loss.

Describing their findings in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, researchers highlighted that deleting the SARM1 gene in a mouse model of retinal ganglion cell degeneration protected vision.

Study author, Laura Finnegan, explained that SARM1 contributes to a process that leads to the deterioration of specialised cells and their axons in the eye.

“When this happens it essentially means that the optic nerve can no longer deliver signals from the eye to the brain,” she shared.

Fellow author, Jane Farrar, highlighted the potential for a targeted therapy to preserve sight in patients diagnosed with ocular neuropathy.

"We have a way to go before such a therapy is available but this work represents a significant step,” she said.

The research was funded by the Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board of Ireland and Fighting Blindness Ireland.