Researchers have pinpointed the genetic regions that aremutated to cause the most common adult form of musculardystrophy.

Three separate teams published information this week inNature showing that a region on chromosome 19 in patientswith myotonic dystrophy varies in size -- the larger the size,the more severe are the symptoms.

The three international teams of researchers, includingscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology andLawrence Livermore National Laboratory, reported that theynow have the genetic tools necessary to study the developmentand transmission of the features of the disease. Myotonicdystrophy affects one in 10,000 people worldwide, with avariable age of onset and severity of symptoms, which includeprogressive wasting of muscles and sustained musclecontraction. -- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D.

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