Fruit flies and the North Sea Disorder

When reading the newspaper in the northern part of the Netherlands, one topic could certainly not be missed: The next step of research into North Sea progressive myoclonus epilepsy (North Sea PME) epilepsy by means of a Drosophila fly model is a fact!

In the laboratory of Prof. Ody Sibon research is being performed in collaboration with the Dutch foundation for North Sea PME. Here, a Drosophila fly model is used which carries the same mutation as patients with North Sea PME. Post doc researcher Jenke Gorter is testing a broad range of compounds on the Drosophila fly model, to investigate whether there are compounds which have an effect on North Sea PME and to gain insight into the mechanism of this disease. Recently, both the daily newspapers of Leeuwarden (‘Leeuwarder Courant’) as well as that of Groningen and Drenthe (‘Dagblad van het Noorden’) published an article about the research into North Sea PME. Here, you can read the article from the Leeuwarder Courant (only in Dutch).

In the context of International Rare Diseases Day 2019, the Dutch television program ‘EditieNL’ broadcasted an edition about North Sea PME including an interview with Dr. Tom de Koning. The broadcasted edition on North Sea PME can be viewed via

North Sea PME is a hereditary condition in which patients experience balance difficulties, jerks (myoclonus) and epilepsy already from a young age on. The ancestors of patients appear to come from countries bound to the North Sea, in most cases presumably even traced back to one particular area: Friesland.