[AI] Blindness Cure For Cavefish Possible

shahnaz shycurrim at yahoo.co.in
Wed Jan 9 03:08:44 EST 2008

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Blindness cure for cavefish possible
9 Jan 2008, 0020 hrs IST
  NEW YORK: It's a research which brings a ray
of hope for hundreds of visually impaired
people across the globe - scientists have been
able to restore the vision of blind
cavefish who live in dark pools.
  In their study, the researchers in the United
States have found that mutations
in different genes are responsible for eye loss
in separate cavefish lineages and
by altering the genetic function, vision can be
regained in their offspring.
  According to lead researcher professor Richard
Borowsky of New York University,
the findings could pave the way for greater
understanding of human eyes.
  "These genes that have their function altered
by mutation are the same genes that
normally play important roles in the development
and maintenance of the eye in humans
as well as in fishes."
  In fact, the researchers examined four
populations of blind cavefish Astyanax mexicanus,
which inhabit different caves in northeast
Mexico. Blind for millennia, these fish
evolved from eyed, surface fish. The genetic
analysis showed that the evolutionary
impairment of eye development, as well as the
loss of pigmentation and other cave-related
changes, resulted from mutations at multiple gene
  In order to gauge how genetic make-up could
bring about the restoration of vision,
the researchers created hybrids of the different
cavefish populations. Among these
various hybrids, they found that nearly 40% in some
hybrid crosses could see.

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