Zebrafish research ‘can aid motor treatment’

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THE treatment of motor neurone disease, spinal cord injury and strokes could be boosted by new research conducted on zebrafish.

Researchers based in the Capital succeeded in manipulating the production of motor neurones, which control muscle activity, in the fish.

Unlike mammals, the fish are able to create new motor neurones as adults. Humans generate them as embryos, but after birth lose the ability to change early stage cells, into motor neurones.

This means that if motor neurones are damaged by illness or injury, they cannot be replaced.

Dr Catherina Becker, from Edinburgh University, said: “We could potentially manipulate these pathways in humans with the hope of being able to generate new motor neurones.”