Peruvian village where many men go blind by 50 leads to stigmitization

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Parán is a small dusty village in the foothills of the Andes in Peru, and for a long time, everyone had known about the men there who go blind by the time they’re 50. 

“With my son, I started to realize that something was going on because he started to walk all wrong,” Yessica Palomares says. “He’d want to wander around, but he tripped everywhere and ran into things.”

But no one knew why this was happening. The town was isolated and most people there had never seen a doctor. Then a few years back, a new road was built. Parán started to export peaches. Mining companies began sending in workers to look for gold and silver.

Then the doctors started to arrive. They were sent to Parán by a mining company, as kind of an outreach effort, and locals hoped the doctors would give them glasses or medicine to fix their vision problems.

Instead, the doctors told them that the problem was a genetic condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. Bit by bit, it knocks out the cells in the retina, like pixels going out on a computer screen, until one day everything goes totally blank.

The condition is caused by a mutation on the X chromosome, so while women can carry the defect, it’s usually the men who go blind.

Read the full, original story: Everyone in this small Peruvian town knew about the men who go blind by age 50. Then they found out why

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend