What is Duchenne muscular dystrophy?

It is one of the more than 20 types of muscular dystrophy. All muscular dystrophies are caused by defects in genes (the units of inheritance that parents pass to their children) and that causes progressive muscle weakness and muscle cells break down and are lost gradually.

The Duchenne type affects only boys (with very rare exceptions) and a problem in this gene is known to lead to a defect in one important protein in muscle fibers called dystrophin. Named after Dr. Duchenne de Boulogne, who worked in Paris in the 19th century was one of the first to study the muscular dystrophies.

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