Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved research

Ocular Genetics in the UK Biobank

Principal Investigator: Dr Xiaoyi Gao
Approved Research ID: 23424
Approval date: July 14th 2017

Lay summary

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have led to the identification of genetic variants that are associated with a variety of human diseases and traits. While their use in the field of ophthalmology has revealed biological insight into the pathogenesis of many ocular diseases, we believe additional variants remain to be identified. The primary aim of this research is to identify novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and pathways associated with ocular phenotypes such as glaucoma, cataract, macular degeneration, intraocular pressure, and corneal hysteresis. And secondly, we aim to replicate previously identified loci for these ocular phenotypes. Visual impairment and eye disorders are significant public health issues around the world, resulting in decreased quality of life for these affected individuals. With an aging global population, the number of individuals affected by these conditions is expected to increase. Therefore, identifying genetic variants that influence such conditions will allow for better prediction of ocular traits, leading to the identification of at risk individuals in which targeted prevention strategies and early detection methods can be made available. Furthermore, identification of biological pathways may enable the development of effective therapeutic treatments for these blinding disorders. After receiving the data, both the genotype and phenotype data will undergo stringent quality control parameters to retain high quality information. Identification of novel SNPs will then be conducted via single variant association testing for each phenotype utilizing statistical models, adjusting for covariates. Enrichment of biological pathways will be performed by analyzing gene sets, generated from SNP data, with known pathways from multiple databases. Replication of previously reported loci will be conducted by examining the results generated from the current study with those from previous studies. The number of participants to be included in our study is a subset of the full cohort. Our study will include the 117,649 individuals who underwent the eye and vision component of the UK Biobank, individuals with available eyesight medical history, and individuals who have available genotype data.