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Gene linked to common form of Fuchs corneal dystrophy discovered

Researchers have discovered a gene that is linked to the most common form of Fuchs corneal dystrophy (FCD). The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine online.? Previously, researchers had only been able to identify genes associated with rare subtypes of Fuchs. FCD affects 5 percent of Americans over the age of 40 and is the most common reason for transplants of the cornea. Fuchs corneal dystrophy causes tiny bumps on the cornea, called guttata. This can lead to blurred vision, eye pain and swelling and can even lead to a significant loss of vision. Authors of the study examined the genomes of 280 people with FCD and 410 people without the disease. People with particular versions of a gene called transcription factor 4 (TCF4) were more likely to develop FCD. Those in the study who had one copy of a high-risk version of TCF4 were five times more likely to develop FCD than those without of of these versions. People with two copies of the TCF4 were 30 times more likely to develop it. Researchers are unsure as to what causes the altered forms of TCF4. Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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