DNA from blood or saliva and muscle samples from proband/ DNA from blood or saliva from family members
Our research has many goals, one of which is to characterize the genetic changes responsible for the type of muscle disease found in our participants. In our past research, several new genes responsible for various forms of neuromuscular disease were identified and/or are being studied. These include dystrophin, the sarcoglycans, obscurin, and filamin. Each discovery has resulted in advances in our ability to develop diagnostic tests which benefit patients and their families by providing accurate diagnosis, presymptomatic and/or prenatal testing. Genotype-phenotype correlation studies have increased our understanding of the natural history of these rare disorders benefiting patients through better prognostic determinations by clinicians. Biochemical and pathological analysis of muscle biopsies has led to new insights into disease pathophysiology which we hope will aid in finding treatments.
Our research also studies gene expression in muscle biopsy samples. This entails identifying the genes whose expression is increased or decreased in the muscles of individuals with different muscular dystrophy types. We believe these studies will identify genes and gene pathways which are common to the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophy or which are unique to a particular dystrophy. Our microarray research should lead to a better understanding of the disease process and possible ways to halt the process. The end point of these studies would be an accurate description of the disease pathogenesis.