PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The purpose of the study was to determine whether there are different patterns of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thinning as measured by spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) for 4 subtypes of open angle glaucoma (OAG): primary OAG (POAG), normal tension glaucoma (NTG), pseudoexfoliation glaucoma (PXG), and pigmentary glaucoma (PDG) and to compare them with normal controls. MATERIALS AND METHODS: SD-OCT RNFL thickness values were measured for 4 quadrants and for 4 sectors (ie, superior-nasal, superior-temporal, inferior-nasal, and inferior-temporal). Differences in RNFL thickness values between groups were analyzed using analysis of variance. Paired t tests were used for quadrant comparisons. RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-five participants (102 POAG patients, 33 with NTG, 48 with PXG, 13 with PDG, and 89 normal patients) were included in this study. All 4 subtypes of OAG showed significant RNFL thinning in the superior, inferior, and nasal quadrants as well as the superior-temporal and inferior-temporal sectors (all P-values <0.0001) compared with normals. POAG and NTG patients had greater RNFL thinning inferiorly and inferior-temporally than superiorly (P-values: 0.002 to 0.018 and 0.006, respectively) compared with PXG patients. In contrast, PDG patients had greater RNFL thinning superiorly and superior-nasally than inferiorly compared with other OAG subtypes (ie, POAG, NTG, PXG groups, with P-values: 0.009, 0.003, 0.009, respectively). Of the 4 OAG subtypes, PXG patients exhibited the greatest degree of inter-eye RNFL asymmetry. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that SD-OCT may be able to detect significant differences in patterns of RNFL thinning for different subtypes of OAG.
Purpose: To analyze the age dependence of the longitudinal modulus of the crystalline lens in vivo using Brillouin scattering data in healthy subjects. Methods: Brillouin scans were performed along the crystalline lens in 56 eyes from 30 healthy subjects aged from 19 to 63 years. Longitudinal elastic modulus was acquired along the sagittal axis of the lens with a transverse and axial resolution of 4 and 60 μm, respectively. The relative lens stiffness was computed, and correlations with age were analyzed. Results: Brillouin axial profiles revealed nonuniform longitudinal modulus within the lens, increasing from a softer periphery toward a stiffer central plateau at all ages. The longitudinal modulus at the central plateau showed no age dependence in a range of 19 to 45 years and a slight decrease with age from 45 to 63 years. A significant intersubject variability was observed in an age-matched analysis. Importantly, the extent of the central stiff plateau region increased steadily over age from 19 to 63 years. The slope of change in Brillouin modulus in the peripheral regions were nearly age-invariant. Conclusions: The adult human lens showed no measurable age-related increase in the peak longitudinal modulus. The expansion of the stiff central region of the lens is likely to be the major contributing factor to age-related lens stiffening. Brillouin microscopy may be useful in characterizing the crystalline lens for the optimization of surgical or pharmacological treatments aimed at restoring accommodative power.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of deliberate removal of the central Descemet membrane on endothelial function and morphology in patients with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy (FED) and cataract undergoing phacoemulsification. METHODS: In this retrospective case series, patients with FED and visually significant cataract underwent phacoemulsification in an academic cornea practice in Boston, MA. Four millimeters of the central Descemet membrane was stripped and removed after intraocular lens insertion. Vision, corneal pachymetry, and confocal imaging of the endothelial anatomy were performed before surgery and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery. Patients were classified as fast responders, responders, slow responders, and nonresponders on the basis of postoperative time to resolution of corneal edema with visible central endothelial mosaic. RESULTS: Eleven patients (13 eyes) aged 51 to 91 years were included in the study. No eyes had countable central endothelial cells by confocal imaging before surgery. Preoperative visual acuity ranged from 20/25 to 20/400. All corneas showed stromal and microcystic edema in the area of Descemet stripping at days 1 and 7 after surgery. Four eyes demonstrated resolution of corneal edema with visible central endothelial cell mosaic (range: 410-864 cells/mm) by postoperative month 1 with visual acuity ranging between 20/25 and 20/40. Four additional eyes demonstrated a similar response by postoperative month 3 and an additional 2 eyes had resolution of corneal edema with an intact central endothelial mosaic at postoperative month 6 or later. Cell counts (range: 428-864 cells/mm) were maintained in all 10 responders at the last follow-up visit (range: postoperative months 6-24). Final vision ranged from 20/15 to 20/20 in these 10 eyes with the exception of 2 eyes with retinal pathology. Three eyes required endothelial keratoplasty. CONCLUSIONS: Repopulation of the central corneal endothelium with corneal deturgescence can occur after deliberate central Descemet stripping in patients with FED who underwent cataract removal. This may offer a novel treatment for patients with FED that could reduce the need for endothelial transplantation. Further studies are needed to delineate the optimal patient population for Descemet stripping because not all patients will respond to this intervention.
PURPOSE: Despite substantial progress in sequencing, current strategies can genetically solve only approximately 55-60% of inherited retinal degeneration (IRD) cases. This can be partially attributed to elusive mutations in the known IRD genes, which are not easily identified by the targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) or Sanger sequencing approaches. We hypothesized that copy-number variations (CNVs) are a major contributor to the elusive genetic causality of IRDs. METHODS: Twenty-eight cases previously unsolved with a targeted NGS were investigated with whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) arrays. RESULTS: Deletions in the IRD genes were detected in 5 of 28 families, including a de novo deletion. We suggest that the de novo deletion occurred through nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) and we constructed a genomic map of NAHR-prone regions with overlapping IRD genes. In this article, we also report an unusual case of recessive retinitis pigmentosa due to compound heterozygous mutations in SNRNP200, a gene that is typically associated with the dominant form of this disease. CONCLUSIONS: CNV mapping substantially increased the genetic diagnostic rate of IRDs, detecting genetic causality in 18% of previously unsolved cases. Extending the search to other structural variations will probably demonstrate an even higher contribution to genetic causality of IRDs.Genet Med advance online publication 13 October 2016Genetics in Medicine (2016); doi:10.1038/gim.2016.158.
PURPOSE: This study retrospectively reviews preseptal cellulitis and abscesses involving the eyebrow to elucidate the bacteriology and potential causative factors. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify patients who had been diagnosed with preseptal cellulitis or abscess involving the eyebrow at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary between 2008 and 2015. Demographic, clinical, and microbiological data were collected. RESULTS: Eighty patients with eyebrow infections were identified, of whom 49 (61.3%) were female and 31 (38.7%) were male. The median age was 37 years (range 14-67 years). Eyebrow abscess was present in 54 cases (67.5%), while 26 cases (32.5%) were limited to preseptal cellulitis without abscess formation. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was found in 20 abscesses (39.2% of culture results), and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus was found in 12 abscesses (23.5% of culture results). Coagulase-negative staphylococci were present in 7 eyebrow abscesses (13.7% of culture results). Clinical history was remarkable for eyebrow hair removal (tweezing, waxing, threading, or shaving) in 17 cases (21.3%), manipulation of acne lesions ("popping," "picking," or "squeezing") in 6 cases (7.5%), and both brow hair removal and acne manipulation in 1 case (1.3%). CONCLUSIONS: There is a high incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the bacteriology of eyebrow infections. Empirical antibiotic coverage for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus should be strongly considered in any patient with an eyebrow area abscess or preseptal cellulitis. Individuals who practice cosmetic eyebrow grooming should be encouraged to consider hygiene practices, which could reduce the risk of infection.
PURPOSE: To assess the ability of latanoprost-eluting contact lenses to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) of glaucomatous eyes of cynomolgus monkeys. DESIGN: Preclinical efficacy study of 3 treatment arms in a crossover design. PARTICIPANTS: Female cynomolgus monkeys with glaucoma induced in 1 eye by repeated argon laser trabeculoplasty. METHODS: Latanoprost-eluting low-dose contact lenses (CLLO) and high-dose contact lenses (CLHI) were produced by encapsulating a thin latanoprost-polymer film within the periphery of a methafilcon hydrogel, which was lathed into a contact lens. We assessed the IOP-lowering effect of CLLO, CLHI, or daily latanoprost ophthalmic solution in the same monkeys. Each monkey consecutively received 1 week of continuous-wear CLLO, 3 weeks without treatment, 5 days of latanoprost drops, 3 weeks without treatment, and 1 week of continuous-wear CLHI. On 2 consecutive days before initiation of each study arm, the IOP was measured hourly over 7 consecutive hours to establish the baseline IOP. Two-tailed Student t tests and repeated-measures analysis of variance were used for statistical analysis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Intraocular pressure. RESULTS: Latanoprost ophthalmic solution resulted in IOP reduction of 5.4±1.0 mmHg on day 3 and peak IOP reduction of 6.6±1.3 mmHg on day 5. The CLLO reduced IOP by 6.3±1.0, 6.7±0.3, and 6.7±0.3 mmHg on days 3, 5, and 8, respectively. The CLHI lowered IOP by 10.5±1.4, 11.1±4.0, and 10.0±2.5 mmHg on days 3, 5, and 8, respectively. For the CLLO and CLHI, the IOP was statistically significantly reduced compared with the untreated baseline at most time points measured. The CLHI demonstrated greater IOP reduction than latanoprost ophthalmic solution on day 3 (P = 0.001) and day 5 (P = 0.015), and at several time points on day 8 (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Sustained delivery of latanoprost by contact lenses is at least as effective as delivery with daily latanoprost ophthalmic solution. More research is needed to determine the optimal continuous-release dose that would be well tolerated and maximally effective. Contact lens drug delivery may become an option for the treatment of glaucoma and a platform for ocular drug delivery.
PURPOSE: Although it has been known that patients' perspectives on their disease can significantly affect their level of functional disability as well as disease outcome, limited data are available on patients' perceptions of their dry eye disease (DED). The aim of this questionnaire-based study was to evaluate patients' perspectives on their DED. METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 91 patients with DED. In addition to clinical evaluation, all patients completed a questionnaire to evaluate their perspectives on their DED. This included their satisfaction with understanding DED, their opinion on the easiness of following doctors' advice, their opinion on the effectiveness of the treatment, their satisfaction with the eye care, and their general outlook on DED. RESULTS: This study included 75 (82%) women and 16 men (18%) with a mean age of 57 ± 14 years who had been treated for DED for 5.2 ± 5.4 years. 93% of the patients were satisfied with their understanding of DED, and 76% found it easy to follow their doctors' advice for DED management. Furthermore, 95% thought that the DED treatment had been helpful and 95% were satisfied with their eye care for DED. Forty-eight percent expressed optimism regarding the long-term prospects of their DED. CONCLUSIONS: Although the majority of DED patients have positive perspectives on their disease, close to half report a lack of optimism regarding the long-term outlook for their condition.
PURPOSE: The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc, Sylmar, CA) was developed to restore some vision to patients blind as a result of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) or outer retinal degeneration. A clinical trial was initiated in 2006 to study the long-term safety and efficacy of the Argus II System in patients with bare or no light perception resulting from end-stage RP. DESIGN: Prospective, multicenter, single-arm clinical trial. Within-patient controls included the nonimplanted fellow eye and patients' native residual vision compared with their vision with the Argus II. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty participants in 10 centers in the United States and Europe. METHODS: The worse-seeing eye of blind patients was implanted with the Argus II. Patients wore glasses mounted with a small camera and a video processor that converted images into stimulation patterns sent to the electrode array on the retina. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were safety (the number, seriousness, and relatedness of adverse events) and visual function, as measured by 3 computer-based, objective tests. Secondary measures included functional vision performance on objectively scored real-world tasks. RESULTS: Twenty-four of 30 patients remained implanted with functioning Argus II Systems at 5 years after implantation. Only 1 additional serious adverse event was experienced after the 3-year time point. Patients performed significantly better with the Argus II on than off on all visual function tests and functional vision tasks. CONCLUSIONS: The 5-year results of the Argus II trial support the long-term safety profile and benefit of the Argus II System for patients blind as a result of RP. The Argus II is the first and only retinal implant to have market approval in the European Economic Area, the United States, and Canada.
PURPOSE: To identify autoantigens in autoimmune retinopathy patients by phage immunoprecipitation sequencing (PhIP-Seq), a new technique for autoantigen discovery. METHODS: PhIP-Seq was used to sequence putative autoantibodies in plasma from 11 patients with autoimmune retinopathy and eight controls. We compared the autoantibodies' molecular weights with those of proteins detected by Western blot. RESULTS: Several autoantigens were found in cases and not detected in the controls. Autoantigens RTN3, PRPF6, TRPC6, and B3GNT8, four proteins expressed in the retina, were detected in plasma as autoantibodies from one patient each and no controls. Only one patient had an autoantibody, B3GNT8 (43.4 kDa), within a similar weight range as that detected by antiretinal antibody Western blot (42 kDa). Autoantibody POLR3A, which has a well-characterized role in scleroderma, was detected in two cases and no controls. CONCLUSION: PhIP-Seq detected autoantigens that are expressed in the retina as well as scleroderma-related autoantigens in autoimmune retinopathy patients.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy of chlorambucil in the treatment of serpiginous choroiditis. METHODS: Patient records from the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution (MERSI) were reviewed from over the past 10 years. In total, 17 patients with the diagnosis of serpiginous choroiditis treated with chlorambucil were identified. QuantiFERON gold was negative in all of them. Chlorambucil was started at 0.15 mg/kg and dosage was titrated up using weekly white blood cell (WBC) count to achieve a target cell number of 3.0-4.5 × 10(9) cells/L. The goal of therapy was to maintain this value for at least 6-9 months. Adverse effects, recurrence, rate of new choroidal neovascularization (CNVM), and visual acuity before and after treatment were recorded. RESULTS: The mean age of the 17 patients with the diagnosis of serpiginous choroiditis treated with chlorambucil was 46 years, and six patients (35%) were male. The mean duration of treatment for chlorambucil was 8.4 months. None of them developed cancer or persistent side-effects, with a mean follow-up of 53 months. Of the patients, 12 (71%) achieved an average of 45 (5-120) months drug-free remission in their last follow-up. Visual acuity of 33 treated eyes remained within two lines of Snellen acuity in 27 eyes (82%), improved in one eye (3%), and deteriorated in five eyes (15%). Leukopenia was the most common side-effect, which was reversible in all cases. CONCLUSIONS: Chlorambucil in a relatively short duration of time, with an escalating dose guided by weekly WBC was well tolerated, as well as effective in preventing recurrence and maintaining vision in patients with serpiginous choroiditis.
PURPOSE: To compare the efficacy of an internet-based versus traditional referral system for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) screening in Iran. METHODS: Two referral screening systems were compared in this prospective observational study. Group A (internet-based) comprised premature babies who were registered into an online system for screening. Their appointments were scheduled automatically based on standardized criteria. Group B (conventional) comprised premature babies whose referrals were based on oral or written recommendations. Babies were referred based on standard criteria (gestational age, GA, <37 weeks or birth weight < 3000 g). RESULTS: A total of 2115 neonates were screened between October 2011 and October 2012. From these 1896 met the inclusion criteria (group A n = 856, group B n = 1040). Time of first examination for neonates with GA≤27 weeks was 30.07± 2.72 weeks postmenstrual age in group A and 38.52± 7.03 weeks in group B (p = 0.049), and for neonates with GA>27 weeks was 4.86 ±1.77 and 8.16 ±4.93 weeks after birth in groups A and B, respectively (p < 0.001). All registered babies in group A attended their first screening exam. One case (0.1%) of advanced ROP developed in group A (in a patient with poor follow-up compliance), whereas advanced stages of ROP were seen in 26 cases (2.5%) in group B (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: An internet-based registration system for ROP screening resulted in fewer cases of delayed first examination and resulted in fewer babies with advanced ROP.
PURPOSE: To determine the incidence of retinal redetachment due to proliferative vitreoretinopathy after open-globe trauma in smokers and nonsmokers. METHODS: A total of 892 patients comprising 893 open-globe injuries, in whom 255 eyes were diagnosed with a retinal detachment, and 138 underwent surgical repair were analyzed in a retrospective case-control study. Time to redetachment was examined using the Kaplan-Meier method and analysis of risk factors was analyzed using Cox proportional hazards modeling. RESULTS: Within one year after retinal detachment surgery, 47% (95% CI, 39-56%) of all 138 repaired retinas redetached because of proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Being a smoker was associated with a higher rate of detachment (adjusted hazard ratio 1.96, P = 0.01). As shown in previous studies, the presence of proliferative vitreoretinopathy at the time of surgery was also an independent risk factor for failure (adjusted hazard ratio 2.13, P = 0.005). Treatment with vitrectomy-buckle compared favorably to vitrectomy alone (adjusted hazard ratio 0.58, P = 0.04). Only 8% of eyes that redetached achieved a best-corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or better, in comparison to 44% of eyes that did not redetach (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Proliferative vitreoretinopathy is a common complication after the repair of retinal detachment associated with open-globe trauma, and being a smoker is a risk factor for redetachment. Further study is needed to understand the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying this correlation.
The transfer of DNA between Enterococcus faecium strains has been characterized both by the movement of well-defined genetic elements and by the large-scale transfer of genomic DNA fragments. In this work, we report on the whole-genome analysis of transconjugants resulting from mating events between the vancomycin-resistant E. faecium C68 strain and the vancomycin-susceptible D344RRF strain to discern the mechanism by which the transferred regions enter the recipient chromosome. Vancomycin-resistant transconjugants from five independent matings were analyzed by whole-genome sequencing. In all cases but one, the penicillin binding protein 5 (pbp5) gene and the Tn5382 vancomycin resistance transposon were transferred together and replaced the corresponding pbp5 region of D344RRF. In one instance, Tn5382 inserted independently downstream of the D344RRF pbp5 gene. Single nucleotide variant (SNV) analysis suggested that entry of donor DNA into the recipient chromosome occurred by recombination across regions of homology between donor and recipient chromosomes, rather than through insertion sequence-mediated transposition. The transfer of genomic DNA was also associated with the transfer of C68 plasmid pLRM23 and another putative plasmid. Our data are consistent with the initiation of transfer by cointegration of a transferable plasmid with the donor chromosome, with subsequent circularization of the plasmid-chromosome cointegrant in the donor prior to transfer. Entry into the recipient chromosome most commonly occurred across regions of homology between donor and recipient chromosomes.
PURPOSE: Progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN) associated with varicella zoster virus (VZV) is usually diagnosed in HIV positive or immunosuppressed patients. We report two cases of immunocompetent patients with necrotizing viral retinitis found to have idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia. METHODS: Clinical presentation, examination, imaging, and laboratory testing of two patients with VZV retinitis are presented. RESULTS: An HIV negative patient with history of herpes zoster presented with rapid loss of vision and examination consistent with PORN. PCR testing confirmed VZV. Lymphocytopenia was noted with a CD4 count of 25/mm(3). A second HIV negative patient presented with blurred vision and lid swelling and was found to have peripheral VZV retinitis confirmed by PCR. Laboratory workup revealed lymphocytopenia with a CD4 count of 133/mm(3). CONCLUSIONS: VZV necrotizing retinitis classic for PORN can occur in HIV negative patients. Idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia should be considered healthy patients who develop ocular infections seen in the immunocompromised.
PURPOSE: Purinergic receptors play a key role in the function of the lacrimal gland (LG) as P1 purinergic receptors A1, A2A, and A2B, P2X1-7 receptors, and many of the P2Y receptors are expressed. METHODS: This review examines the current knowledge of purinergic receptors in the LG as well as the signaling pathways activated by these receptors. RESULTS: These receptors are expressed on the acinar, ductal, and myoepithelial cells. Considerable crosstalk exists between the pathways activated by P2X7 receptors with those activated by M3 muscarinic or α1D adrenergic receptors. The mechanism of the crosstalk between P2X7 and M3 muscarinic receptors differs from that of the crosstalk between P2X7 and α1D adrenergic receptors. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding purinergic receptors and how they modulate protein secretion could play a key role in normal and pathological responses of the LG.
AIM: Eyedroppers deliver medication volumes exceeding conjunctival absorptive capacity, causing spillage and risking ocular/systemic complications. We evaluated piezoelectric microdosing. Results/methodology: Subjects (n = 102) received precision microdroplet delivery of phenylephrine (2.5%) and tropicamide (1.0%): 1 × 1.5 μl, 1 × 6 μl or 2 × 3 μl of each (randomized 1:1:1), into one eye. Contralateral eyes received eyedropper doses of both drugs. Outcomes were pupil dilation (0-60 min) and patient satisfaction. Six-microliter microdosing achieved comparable, and 2 × 3 μl met/exceeded dilation speed and magnitude versus eyedropper. Separately, participants preferred piezoelectric saline self-delivery to eyedroppers, reporting better head-positioning comfort, reduced tearing/overflow and increased likelihood of adhering to ocular medication regimens. CONCLUSION: Piezoelectric microdosing achieves comparable effects as eyedroppers delivering 4-17-fold larger doses. Microdosing may enhance patient adherence to ocular medication regimens while minimizing side effects.
Human corneal endothelial cells are derived from neural crest and because of postmitotic arrest lack competence to repair cell loss from trauma, aging, and degenerative disorders such as Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). Herein, we identified a rapidly proliferating subpopulation of cells from the corneal endothelium of adult normal and FECD donors that exhibited features of neural crest-derived progenitor (NCDP) cells by showing absence of senescence with passaging, propensity to form spheres, and increased colony forming efficacy compared with the primary cells. The collective expression of stem cell-related genes SOX2, OCT4, LGR5, TP63 (p63), as well as neural crest marker genes PSIP1 (p75(NTR)), PAX3, SOX9, AP2B1 (AP-2β), and NES, generated a phenotypic footprint of endothelial NCDPs. NCDPs displayed multipotency by differentiating into microtubule-associated protein 2, β-III tubulin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein positive neurons and into p75(NTR)-positive human corneal endothelial cells that exhibited transendothelial resistance of functional endothelium. In conclusion, we found that mitotically incompetent ocular tissue cells contain adult NCDPs that exhibit a profile of transcription factors regulating multipotency and neural crest progenitor characteristics. Identification of normal NCDPs in FECD-affected endothelium holds promise for potential autologous cell therapies.
Sequence variants in CRB2 cause a syndrome with greatly elevated maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein and amniotic fluid alpha-fetoprotein levels, cerebral ventriculomegaly and renal findings similar to Finnish congenital nephrosis. All reported patients have been homozygotes or compound heterozygotes for sequence variants in the Crumbs, Drosophila, Homolog of, 2 (CRB2) genes. Variants affecting CRB2 function have also been identified in four families with steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome, but without any other known systemic findings. We ascertained five, previously unreported individuals with biallelic variants in CRB2 that were predicted to affect function. We compiled the clinical features of reported cases and reviewed available literature for cases with features suggestive of CRB2-related syndrome in order to better understand the phenotypic and genotypic manifestations. Phenotypic analyses showed that ventriculomegaly was a common clinical manifestation (9/11 confirmed cases), in contrast to the original reports, in which patients were ascertained due to renal disease. Two children had minor eye findings and one was diagnosed with a B-cell lymphoma. Further genetic analysis identified one family with two affected siblings who were both heterozygous for a variant in NPHS2 predicted to affect function and separate families with sequence variants in NPHS4 and BBS7 in addition to the CRB2 variants. Our report expands the clinical phenotype of CRB2-related syndrome and establishes ventriculomegaly and hydrocephalus as frequent manifestations. We found additional sequence variants in genes involved in kidney development and ciliopathies in patients with CRB2-related syndrome, suggesting that these variants may modify the phenotype.