Gene for canine night blindness identified

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canine night blindness

Researchers have identified the gene mutation responsible for a form of night blindness in dogs.

Strategies to treat this condition, which affects a layer of neurons just below the primary photoreceptor cells, could also inform treatment of other diseases that rely on targeting this cell type.

Creating an effective gene therapy for inherited diseases requires three key steps. First, scientists must identify and characterise the disease. Second, they must find the gene responsible. And finally, they must find a way to correct the impairment.

Four years ago, a team from the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with a group from Japan, ticked the first box of that checklist with regard to a form of congenital night blindness in dogs. Now, they have recently announced success in the second stage, and published their findings in Scientific Reports.

“We have indeed nailed down the exact genetic mutation that is causing this disease,” Keiko Miyadera said.

“The next stage is to work on treating this condition; that is to come, and we’re very excited about it.”

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