|In Europe over 300.000 people are affected by muscular dystrophies whilst the majority of the aged population are affected by muscle degeneration leading to decreased mobility and loss of independence. This has severe consequences at both a personal and ec onomic level. The aim of this proposal is to understand how these muscular defects can be repaired. Thus, the proposed project will restructure European research and will: i) integrate internationally recognised European specialists working on various aspe cts of muscle biology and pathology in a number of model organisms; ii) federate their research on well defined aims and obtain a critical mass of researchers who will be able to make significant scientific advancements; iii) create state-of-the-art techni cal platforms and resources which will serve the network's scientific aims; iv) organize the rapid transfer and application of knowledge acquired in genetically amenable organisms into specific applications for human muscle diseases; v) broadly publicize o ur scientific action and, through education, attract younger generation of scientists into this essential field of research. All aspects of muscle differentiation are to be investigated and this will be translated into the mechanisms of repair in the adult . Fundamental to the advancement of our knowledge is the recent demonstration that, throughout evolution, many of the molecular mechanisms regulating muscle differentiation have been highly conserved. As molecular pathways can be easily assessed in inverte brates, we will exploit this advantage and rapidly extend the knowledge gained in these systems to determine gene function in higher vertebrates. This is a unique aspect of the proposal and places the consortium at the international forefront of understand ing of gene function during normal muscle development and disease.'