Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Genetic Mutation Discovered That Impacts the Sleep/Wake Cycle

Link: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316776.php

More Information on the Circadian Rhythm: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-drive-and-your-body-clock

Many Organisms, including humans, undergo changes throughout the day that affects behavior.  These changes operate in 24 hour cycles, known as the circadian rhythm.  One of the major impacts of the circadian rhythm is controlling when we fall asleep and wake up.  You can find more information about the circadian rhythm in the link above.  More ways that the circadian rhythm impacts our lives can be found in the above image.

Not all people sleep at the same times.  Some people fall asleep and wake up early, while others like to stay up and sleep late.  A research team has discovered a genetic mutation that could be the cause of this.  The mutation, occurring in a protein called CRY1, a protein that regulates the circadian rhythm.  The mutation is a single point mutation that results in an extended circadian rhythm, which makes it harder to fall asleep.

Personally, I was surprised that the desire to stay up later or go to sleep early had genetic factors.  I always thought that it was dependent on how much sleep you got the previous night, or what you did throughout the day.  I did not think that there were genetic factors involved.  This article also got me interested in learning more about the circadian rhythm.

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