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Eyeballing Correct Sizes

Insight into how eye size is controlled

30 September 2022

Eyeballing Correct Sizes

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.

Written by Sophie Arthur

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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