Selective breeding for susceptibility to myopia reveals a gene-environment interaction

Yen Po Chen, Paul M. Hocking, Ling Wang, Boris Považay, Ankush Prashar, Chi Ho To, Jonathan T. Erichsen, Marita Feldkaemper, Bernd Hofer, Wolfgang Drexler, Frank Schaeffel, Jeremy A. Guggenheim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. To test whether the interanimal variability in susceptibility to visually induced myopia is genetically determined. Methods. Monocular deprivation of sharp vision (DSV) was induced in outbred White Leghorn chicks aged 4 days. After 4 days' DSV, myopia susceptibility was quantified by the relative changes in axial length and refraction. Chicks in the extreme tails of the distribution of susceptibility to DSV were kept and paired for breeding (high- and low-susceptibility lines). A second round of selection was then performed. The third generation of chicks, derived from the selected parents, was assessed after either monocular DSV (4 or 10 days) or lens wear. Results. After two rounds of selective breeding, the chicks from the high-susceptibility line developed approximately twice as much myopia in response to 4 days' DSV as did those from the low-susceptibility line (P < 0.001). All ocular component dimensions differed significantly (P < 0.001) between the two selected lines, both before treatment and in the responses of the treated eye. When DSV was conducted for 10 days, the relative changes in axial length and refractive error were still significantly different between the high and low lines (P < 0.001). The chicks bred for high or low susceptibility to DSV also showed significantly different responses to minus lens wear, but not to plus lens wear. Additive genetic effects explained ~50% of the interanimal variability in response to DSV. Conclusions. Genes and environment interact to shape refractive development in chicks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4003-4011
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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