Narrator: This is Science Today. An international team of scientists has discovered a genetic link associated with age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, which is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60. Study co-leader Don Anderson of the University of California, Santa Barbara, says they discovered a link between one's susceptibility to develop AMD and a common, inherited variant of a gene called Factor H.
Anderson: Factor H is a component of the complement system and the complement system really is the body's first line of defense against, typically, bacteria. Every gene has variants associated with it, some of them have consequences for the protein and some of them don't.
Narrator: In the case of Factor H, the variant leads to a defective protein that compromises the complement system.
Anderson: If we can develop therapeutics to replace the bad Factor H with the good Factor H, we may be able to develop a simple pill that would prevent you from developing macular degeneration later in life.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.