Boost in battle against floppy baby syndrome

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Information has been discovered that could help scientists explain the most common genetic cause of death in children.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), also known as floppy baby syndrome, targets the body’s nerve cells (motor neurones), causing babies to have little or no control over their movements.

Cell biology experts at the University of St Andrews have looked at the way SMA stops genes from working properly.

The research team found differences in the movement of key parts of a molecular “machine” called the spliceosome which is vital to the way genes work.

The scientists hope the discovery of these differences in molecular movements may help explain what goes wrong in cells to cause the condition.

SMA is the leading genetic cause of death in children and affects one in 6,000 births, the research team says.