Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Clock gene sleep research has implications for workforce

09.03.2007
People differ markedly in their response to sleep deprivation but biological markers of these differences have remained elusive.

In findings published in this week's issue of Current Biology, researchers at the University of Surrey's Sleep Research Centre report their discovery that a genetic difference in the body clock gene PERIOD3 makes some people particularly sensitive to the effects of sleep deprivation.

There are two variants of this gene in humans, which produce either a long or short protein variant. The multidisciplinary research team, consisting of biological scientists and psychologists, compared how individuals with just the longer variant and those with just the shorter one coped with being kept awake for two days and the intervening night. According to Dr Antoine Viola, lead author on the research paper: "The differences between the individuals were striking. Some participants were experiencing no problems staying awake and others were really struggling”.

The results were most pronounced during the early hours of the morning (between 4 and 8 am). Individuals with the longer variant of the gene performed very poorly on tests for attention and working memory. Cognitive Psychologist Professor John Groeger, says: “the early morning performance problems of those with the long variant have important implications for safety and efficiency at work“. Research team leader, Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, explains: "This is exactly the time of night when shift workers struggle to stay awake and many sleepiness-related accidents occur.

... more about:
»difference »sleep »variant

This experiment was conducted in the laboratory and whether the PERIOD3 gene also predicts individual differences in the tolerance to night shift work remains to be demonstrated”. Another member of the team, Dr Malcolm von Schantz, adds: "Approximately 10% of the UK population carries just the longer form of this gene. The possibility that they may be genetically predisposed to perform poorly late at night is a cause for concern".

An additional finding was that the effects of this gene on performance may be mediated by its effects on sleep. When the volunteers were allowed to sleep those with just the longer form of the gene spent about 50% more of their time in slow-wave sleep, the deepest form of sleep. Slow-wave sleep is a marker of sleep need, and it is known that carrying a sleep debt makes it very difficult to stay awake and perform at night.

Dr Simon Archer, who previously discovered that variation in this gene is associated with morning and evening preference, concludes: "We know that variation in PERIOD3 is linked to whether an individual is a “lark” or an “owl”, so we expected that this could have an influence on body clock function. What we weren't expecting was such a dramatic impact on sleep and performance". Professor Debra Skene, adds: “The possible role of clock genes in human sleep physiology opens up an exciting new avenue of research”.

The research was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and conducted at the University of Surrey's Clinical Research Centre.

Stuart Miller | alfa
Further information:
http://www.surrey.ac.uk

Further reports about: difference sleep variant

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>