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Friday, April 27, 2007

Why Some People Are Night Owls?

Telegraph Reported:A genetic mutation called the "after-hours gene" may explain why some people are night owls, it is revealed in Science journal today.

Do you have the night owl gene?

It could also hold clues for pharmacologists working to develop drugs to help people adjust to shift work or jet lag.

There are further implications for the study of causes of some psychiatric disorders.

The altered gene, named "after hours" or Afh, is a variant of a gene called Fbxl3, which had not been linked to the body clock that keeps our metabolism, digestion and sleep patterns in tune with the rising and setting of the sun.

By monitoring laboratory mice, scientists noticed that instead of following the typical 24-hour pattern some animals had body clocks that stretched to a 27-hour day.

It was then discovered that their DNA had the after-hours version of the Fbxl3 gene, one of a large family that controls the breakdown of specific proteins within body cells.

In other research, scientists have identified a part of the brain that affects how we deal with seasonal change.

The research will help our understanding of the causes and consequences of seasonal affective disorder and could also shed light on why we crave more food in winter.

Dr Gerald Lincoln, of Edinburgh University's Centre for Reproductive Biology, said: "Surprisingly, the circannual body clock works on a 10-month cycle.

"We reset our body calendar every summer, when increased light inhibits the production of melatonin. This could explain why sunshine makes us feel happier."

Posted by Ajay :: 5:58 PM :: 0 comments

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