Heritability of ocular component dimensions in chickens: Genetic variants controlling susceptibility to experimentally induced myopia and pretreatment eye size are distinct

Yen Po Chen, Ankush Prashar, Jonathan T. Erichsen, Chi Ho To, Paul M. Hocking, Jeremy A. Guggenheim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. To investigate the extent to which shared genetic variants control (1) multiple ocular component dimensions and (2) both normal eye length and susceptibility to visually induced myopic eye growth. Methods. Two laboratory-reared populations of chicks were examined. The first was a three-generation pedigree of White Leghorn (WL) birds used in a selective breeding experiment testing susceptibility to monocular deprivation of sharp vision (DSV). The chicks were assessed before (age, 4 days) and after 4 days of treatment with diffusers. The second was the 10th generation of an advanced intercross line (AIL) derived from a broiler-layer cross (age, 3 weeks). Variance components analysis was used to estimate heritability and to assess the evidence for shared genetic determination. Results. All measured ocular components were moderately or highly heritable (range, 0.36-0.61; all P < 0.001) in both chick populations, and there were strong genetic correlations across the traits, corneal curvature, vitreous chamber depth, and axial length. The genetic correlations between eye size and myopia susceptibility traits were not significantly different from 0. Conclusions. The genetic variants controlling ocular component dimensions in chicks are shared across some ocular traits (corneal curvature, vitreous chamber depth, and axial length) but distinct for others (lens thickness and corneal thickness). The genetic variants controlling susceptibility to visually induced myopia in chicks are different from those controlling normal eye size.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4012-4020
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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