Investigators studying age-related macular degeneration were among the first to show the power of a genome-wide approach of analysing SNP markers for association with a common multifactorial trait (Klein et al. 2005). Age-related macular degeneration is a common and potentially devastating disease, noted to be the leading cause of blindness in the developed world among people over 50 years of age, with a rising prevalence as the population demographics shift to a more elderly population (Box 9.3) (Jager et al. 2008). Environmental and genetic risk factors are important, the former including increasing age, white race, smoking, and dietary factors (Jager et al. 2008). Evidence to support a genetic predisposition include family studies that show aggregation of cases; among first degree relatives of affected versus unaffected individuals there is an estimated three- to six-fold increased disease risk (Seddon et al. 1997; Klaver cp it o o
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