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Abstract

Typically affecting males ranging from 20 to 24 years of age, Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) is a disorder that is characterized by an acute loss of central vision. Although a heritable disease, LHON does not follow the patterns of classical Mendelian genetics. In fact, one of the most striking characteristics of LHON is that the disease is virtually always inherited maternally. Unlike most genetic disorders that result from a mutation in genomic DNA, LHON is caused by a mutation in the genetic information of mitochondria (mtDNA). Currently there is no treatment for LHON. Despite this, pharmaceutical interventions and contemporary treatment methods, such as gene therapy, are beginning to show promise.