Single Test for Over 50 Genetic Diseases (Repeat Expansion Diseases) Will Cut Diagnosis from Decades to Days

A new DNA test, developed by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney and collaborators from Australia, UK, and Israel, has been shown to identify a range of hard-to-diagnose neurological and neuromuscular genetic diseases more quickly and more accurately than existing tests. “We correctly diagnosed all patients with conditions that were already known, including Huntington’s disease, fragile X syndrome, hereditary cerebellar ataxias, myotonic dystrophies, myoclonic epilepsies, motor neuron disease, and more,” says Dr. Ira Deveson, Head of Genomics Technologies at the Garvan Institute and senior author of the study. The diseases covered by the test belong to a class of over 50 diseases caused by unusually long repetitive DNA sequences in a person’s genes--known as “short tandem repeat (STR) expansion disorders.”
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