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 Bulgarian Scholar Implants a Human Gene into a Fly

Bulgarian Scholar Implants a Human Gene into a Fly

6/29/2009 12:14:36 PM
Ass. Prof. Albena Yordanova and a team of Belgian scholars search for a cure for hereditary polyneuropathy

A unique discovery by a Bulgarian scholar may produce a revolution in the treatment of hereditary polyneuropathy. Assoc. Prof. Albena Yordanova who leads a team of experts in the Belgian city of Antwerp, succeeded in implanting a human gene responsible for the disease into a Drosophila melanogaster, commonly known as fruit fly. This experiment will facilitate the research of the enzymes and mechanisms responsible for the disease and help find a cure for it.


Assoc. Prof. Yordanova has been working in the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology. Her name was firstly made known to public in 2007 when she and her Bulgarian colleagues managed to isolate a gene responsible for the atrophy of the peripheral muscle system. Today the team continues the research by attempting to creat a new phenotype by placing the mutated human gene into a fly. Their aim is to discover the substances which may have a therapeutic effect in cases of polyneuropathy. Currently the concrete fly used in the experiment has developed the same symptoms as a person suffering from peripheral neurapathy.


This discovery brings hope to millions of people. One in every 2500 people on Earth is born with hereditary peripheral neuropathy i.e. damaged connection between the spinal cord and the muscles of the limbs. The disease results in degeneration of internal organs, lost of balance, epilepsy. Over 300 families in Bulgaria suffer from hereditary polyneuropathy. The disease surfaces earlier in men and is more fatal for them. Lately Bulgarian medics have diagnosed cases of seven-year-olds suffering from neuropathy.

Stella Stoyanova, Standart

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