Myopia, or nearsightedness, is the most common eye disorder worldwide. 'Pathologic' high myopia, or myopia of ≤ -6.00 diopters, predisposes individuals to retinal detachment, macular degeneration, cataract, or glaucoma. A locus for autosomal dominant pathologic high myopia has been mapped to 18p11.31. We now report significant linkage of high myopia to a second locus at the 12q21-23 region in a large German/Italian family. The family had no clinical evidence of connective-tissue abnormalities or glaucoma. The average age at diagnosis of myopia was 5.9 years. The average spherical-component refractive error for the affected individuals was -9.47 diopters. Markers flanking or intragenic to the genes for the 18p locus, Stickler syndromes type I and II (12q13.1-q13.3 and 6p21.3), Marfan syndrome (15q21.1), and juvenile glaucoma (chromosome 1q21q31) showed no linkage to the myopia in this family. The maximum LOD score with two-point linkage analysis in this pedigree was 3.85 at a recombination fraction of .0010, for markers D12S1706 and D12S327. Recombination events identified markers D12S1684 and D12S1605 as flanking markers that define a 30.1-cM interval on chromosome 12q21-23, for the second myopia gene. These results confirm genetic heterogeneity of myopia. The identification of this gene may provide insight into the pathophysiology of myopia and eye development.
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We extend many thanks to the family members of this kindred, for their cooperation in this project. We would like to thank Dr. William Knobloch for his collection of patient resources. We also wish to thank Ann Holleschau, Melissa Schmidt, and Marcia Brott for their technical assistance. This research has been supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Minnesota Medical Foundation, and Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.