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Monday
Nov282011

Scientists ID ‘Morning Person’ Gene

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(MUNICH) -- History is full of names of famous figures who accomplished historical feats on reportedly few hours of sleep. Now, new research suggests they may have had a certain genetic advantage.

Scientists at Germany’s Ludwig Maximalians University of Munich have found that one gene, called ABCC9, influences sleep duration and could explain why certain people seem able to operate on limited amounts of shut-eye. The researchers studied responses to a sleep survey from more than 4,000 Europeans in seven different countries and also scanned their genomes. They found that people who had two copies of a particular variant of the ABCC9 gene generally reported sleeping for shorter periods than those who had two copies of a different version of the gene.

The ABCC9 gene has been previously linked to heart disease and diabetes. These latest findings on the genetic factor’s role in sleep duration add to a growing body of evidence suggesting a connection between sleep and cardiovascular health. A 2008 study found a connection between lack of sleep and a dangerous build-up of calcium in the arteries. Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder marked by abnormal pauses in breathing, has also been associated with high blood pressure and heart attacks.

“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,” study author Karla Allebrandt told the U.K.’s Daily Mail.

The scientists also found that the ABCC9 gene controls sleep duration in fruit flies, providing a clue to the gene’s evolutionary age, Allebrandt said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio