Animals were given an identification number before entering the experiment. Investigators and care-takers were blinded for their genotype (e.g., experimental group). Males and females were housed separately in groups. Cage arrangements were determined randomly using the randomizing function of Microsoft Excel. Animals were followed over time using scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO), optical coherence tomography (OCT), electroretinography (ERG), and vision-based behavioral measurements. At the start of every measurement, the measuring order was randomly determined using the randomizing function of Microsoft Excel. The rats were measured using SLO-OCT and ERG at a wide range of ages. Lrat−/− animals (n = 6) were measured weekly from 2 weeks of age onwards. Lrat+/− (n = 5) animals were measured at 16, 17, and 23 weeks of age only. Since only patients with a homozygous, and not heterozygous, c.12delC mutation suffer from RD, we did not expect a difference in these animals’ visual phenotype compared to the Lrat+/+ animals (n = 6) beforehand. A light/dark-box assay was done at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, and 3 months of age. At the end of the study, all animals were sacrificed, and the eyes and other tissues were collected for additional in vitro analyses. There were no drop-outs throughout the experiment.

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