Nearly two decades after they identified the specific genetic flaw that causes a common type of muscular dystrophy, scientists believe they have figured out how that flaw brings about the disease.
The research was led by genetics researchers at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, working together with scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and other investigators. The research was funded by several organizations, including the Fields Center for FSHD and Neuromuscular Research, based at Rochester and at Leiden.
“It is amazing to realize that a long and frustrating journey of almost two decades now culminates in the identification of a single small DNA variant that differs between patients and people without the disease. We finally have a target that we can go after,” said Silvère van der Maarel, Ph.D., professor of medical epigenetics at Leiden and the corresponding author of the paper. Working closely with van der Maarel was the first author of the paper, Richard Lemmers of Leiden.
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