Thursday, February 29, 2024

Being a Morning-person and sharing DNA with Neanderthals

    A new study found that there is a correlation between Neanderthals and being a "morning person." Some modern humans may owe their early rising tendencies to inherited genes from their Neanderthal ancestors. The research that was conducted comparing DNA from living humans with genetic material obtained from Neanderthal fossils. It found similarities in biological clock-related genetic variants associated with early rising. The study was published in the Genome of Biology and Evolution and it focused on 246 genes that control circadian rhythms. It was found that over 1,000 mutations that were unique to modern humans or Neanderthals/Denisovans had variants that increased the likelihood of being an early riser. Some of these mutations were thought to be the result of adaptations to higher latitudes and it may explain ancient human's early-rising behavior. These findings provide an insight into how humans adapted to changing environments over time.
    It should be noted that this study was only conducted on individuals of British decent, but geneticists are currently working on expanding their research to other ancestries. I find this study to be very interesting, mostly because I am a morning person myself. It's important to consider how the DNA of our ancestors affect us today especially in the context of how modern challenges like screen-time affect our biological clock. 

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