Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Sleepy Gene and Our Circadian Rhythms

From an article in the Scientific American:"The Sleepy Gene"

Balanced circadian rhythms and proper sleep patterns are essential to overall health. Scientists at Northwestern University have isolated a gene in fruit flies which is linked to their sleeping patterns, strongly affecting their circadian rhythms. When they deleted the gene, the flies slept only during random intervals throughout the day and were less active overall. As humans and fruit flies are known to be genetically similar, with 61% of human disease genes having a match in fly genetic codes and 50% of fly protein sequences having mammalian analogues, it is likely that a similar gene will be found in humans.

If so, the Sleepy Gene will shed light on our circadian rhythms and may help us understand issues concerning our overall health, such as sleeping well and being able to wake up comfortably in the morning. 

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