New diagnostic imaging advances have made it possible for scientists to link certain degenerative muscle conditions to an individual's DNA profile.
The work, which was co-led by University of Leeds' School of Medicine and the Charite in Berlin, identified a defective gene that was responsible for muscle deteriorations that led to breathing and eating difficulties.
Researchers explained that this MEGF10 gene is accountable for the mechanism that allows muscle satellite cells to stick to any problem areas in the body where degeneration is taking place and when it is faulty, it means this muscle breakdown is left unchecked.
Professor Colin Johnson from the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Leeds, said the same diagnostic imaging techniques could be used to help doctors identify and treat other genetic illnesses in the future.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, conditions are often inherited, but can occur in specific individuals with genetic traces of the illness in their family background.