Insight into how eye size is controlled
How do organs grow repeatedly to the same size? Developmental biologists have been fascinated by this question for many years, particularly when it comes to the eye. That’s because the size of an eye strongly links with performance. Any changes in size can cause long- or near-sightedness. So what controls eye size? Researchers have revealed that a protein called BMP2 is part of a network of stop signals for eye growth. Pictured are whole (top row) and sections (bottom) of a mouse eyeball with normal BMP2 levels (middle column), with reduced levels (left) and with increased levels (right). They show a clear difference in size, where not enough BMP2 means the eyeball has overgrown and vice versa. High myopia is an inherited cause of near-sightedness because the eyes are larger than they should be. This discovery could be the first step towards developing new ways to treat myopia and similar conditions in the future.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.