12 new genes linked to neuromuscular disorders like motor neurone disease and muscular dystrophy have been discovered by scientists.
And an international expert has predicted that the number is likely to double in the next few years.
Head of the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre in London, Francesco Muntoni, said advances in recent years in finding the faulty genes that cause neuromuscular disorders were just the start.
"Thanks to new scientific techniques, in particular the latest gene sequencing technologies, we can expect in a few years time that the list of genetic defects that we know cause neuromuscular diseases will be twice as long as it is now," the Courier Mail quoted him as saying.
"The upshot of that is it will more than likely pave the way for better genetic counselling for those people affected by these largely incurable and untreatable conditions," he noted.
Professor Muntoni will reveal at least 12 new disease genes this week at the 17th International Congress of the World Muscle Society in Perth.
The conference, which is being held in Australia for the first time, will bring together more than 500 clinicians and medical researchers in neuromuscular disorders.