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Leicester study looks at ‘sleep DNA’

31-07-2009

Research at the University of Leicester is aiming to investigate the "DNA of sleep" in an attempt to further the understanding of the genetics involved with the process. Carried out by Ms Mobina Kherica and Dr Eran Tauber of the University's Department of Genetics, the research centres on the study of fruit flies. The flies are understood to follow familiar sleep patterns to mammals, offering a unique insight into the influence of genes.

"Sleep is ubiquitous in a diverse range of organisms including reptiles, birds and mammals, and is widely accepted as critical for survival," said Ms Khericha. "However, despite intensive research, the genetic and molecular mechanisms controlling sleep are largely unknown."

"Our project is mostly focusing on identifying genetic variation that underlies natural sleep variation between individuals. Analysing the variation in sleep pattern has already allowed us to identify several genome regions that include candidate genes that cause natural variation in sleep," she added.

The research is being presented at the University of Leicester's Festival of Postgraduate Research later this month.

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