Researchers in Washington state were looking for genes that changed expression throughout your sleep-wake cycle. And they found one in mouse brains: FABP7 - or fatty acid binding protein. They found that mice who had a mutated or "knocked out" FABP7 genes slept more fitfully, compared to mice with normal genes.
The mutant sleepers were more likely to wake up during the night. Worst X-Men ever. That suggests that this gene is required for normal sleep ... it's a sleep gene! Now, testing in mice isn't enough, so they tested this in humans too -- and found the same thing.
The U.S. researchers teamed up with scientists in Japan and looked at data of 300 Japanese men who underwent a sleep study. It turns out that 29 of these dudes slept fitfully AND had a mutation on FABP7. They also tested this in fruit flies. This is the first time researchers have gained insight into something as complicated and mysterious as sleep across different species.
Special thanks to Squarespace for supporting Seeker. Start your free trial today at Squarespace.com, and use coupon code "seeker" to get 10% off your first purchase!