EyeEye Captain: Bounty Mutineer Descendants May Hold Key to Myopia
SYDNEY (Reuters) Jul 20 - Descendants of the famous Bounty mutineers who now live on an isolated Pacific Island have among the lowest rates of myopia in the world and may hold the key to unlocking the genetic code for the disease, according to a new study.
A study of residents on Australia's Norfolk Island, 1,600 km (1,000 miles) northeast of Sydney, showed the rate of myopia, or near-sightedness, among Bounty descendants was about half that of the general Australian population.
Fletcher Christian led a mutiny on the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty against Captain William Bligh in 1789 in the South Pacific. The mutineers settled in Tahiti but later fled, along with their Tahitian women, to remote Pitcairn Island to escape arrest. Some 60 years after arriving on Pitcairn, almost 200 descendents of the original mutineers relocated to Norfolk Island to avoid famine.
Michael Starrels, MD