Complex genetics of glaucoma susceptibility.

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Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 2005; 6:15-44.


Glaucoma describes a group of diseases that kill retinal ganglion cells. There are different types of glaucoma, and each appears to be genetically heterogeneous. Different glaucoma genes have been identified, but these genes account for only a small proportion of glaucoma. Most glaucoma cases appear to be multifactorial, and are likely affected by multiple interacting loci. A number of genetic susceptibility factors have been suggested to contribute to glaucoma. These factors fit into two broad groups, those affecting intraocular pressure and those important in modulating retinal ganglion cell viability. Defining the complex genetics of glaucoma will require significant further study of the human disease and animal models. Genetic approaches are essential and will be enhanced by recently developed genomic and proteomic technologies. These technologies will provide valuable clues about pathogenesis for subsequent testing. In this review, we focus on endogenous genetic susceptibility factors and on how experimental studies will be valuable for dissecting the multifactorial complexity of their interactions.