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Internal alarm clock and new gene discovered responsible for shorter nocturnal sleep

26 November 2011 No Comment

Scientists have identified a specific gene and that it is responsible in individuals who sleep only for shorter period of even four hours a day.

Karla Allebrandt and her team from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich identified a gene called ABCC9 that can reduce the length of time we sleep.

The new discovery of gene ABCC9 is seemed to control the hours of sleep we have and answer that every individual is having their own alarm clock to wake up in particular time.

Their findings are helpful in answering as why people like Margaret Thatcher are able to get on just by having four hours shut-eye night.

Scientists say that the gene ABCC9 can reduce the length of time we sleep.

To find out the gene the study authors selected people from seven different EU countries and totally allowed 4,000 people to participate.

The study contained a questionnaire which was answered by all participants including the duration of their sleep. Then, their genes were analyzed in all participants.

The new gene ABCC9 was already found linked in diabetes and heart diseases and found in fruit flies.

The study concluded that an individual who have two copies of one common variant of ABCC9 slept for significantly shorter periods than individuals with two copies of another version.

Scientists discovered the sleep pattern responsible gene by taking the genes from fruit flies and were able to modify it in the animal and shorten the length of time for which it slept.

Study author Dr. Karla Allebrandt said, ‘’Apparently the relationships of sleep duration with other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can be in part explained by an underlying common molecular mechanism.’

Scientists said that ABCC9 gene is evolutionarily ancient as they are seen in fruit-flies which also exhibit sleep-like behavior.

The study author during their study blocked the function of the gene ABCC9 homolog in the fly nervous system and found that the duration of nocturnal sleep was shortened.

Co-author Till Roenneberg said, ‘this tells us that the genetic control of sleep duration may well be based on similar mechanisms in a wide range of highly diverse species.’

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