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Researchers hope discovery will someday help blind to see again

Andrea Viczian, PhD and Michael Zuber, PhDOphthalmology researchers Andrea Viczian, PhD, and Michael Zuber, PhD, lead a team at Upstate's Center for Vision Research that discovered just two genes -- not seven, as previously believed -- are responsible for beginning the process of eye development. Their work advances the understanding of how retinal cells are formed and offers hope that scientists someday might be able to prompt the development of cells to treat retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa. Viczian and Zuber study eye development in frog embryos, which contain the same retinal cell types and whose retinas develop in a manner similar to the human retina. They work with stem cells that have the potential to form a variety of adult cell types. (Click here for an abstract of their findings.)