Can’t fall asleep? 7 different genes may be to blame for insomnia

| June 13, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Insomnia is among the most frequent complaints in general practice. Even after treatment, poor sleep remains a persistent vulnerability for many people.

A research team led by Vrije Universiteit Professor Danielle Posthuma has come closer to unraveling the biological mechanisms that cause the predisposition for insomnia.

To identify genetic factors for insomnia complaints, Prof. Posthuma, Prof. Someren and their colleagues performed a genome-wide association study and a genome-wide gene-based association study in 113,006 individuals.

As a result, the researchers identified seven genes associated with insomnia.

“These genes play a role in the regulation of transcription, the process where DNA is read in order to make an RNA copy of it, and exocytosis, the release of molecules by cells in order to communicate with their environment,” the authors said.

“One of the identified genes, MEIS1, has previously been related to two other sleep disorders: periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS) and restless legs syndrome (RLS).”

“Variants in the MEIS1 gene seem to contribute to all three disorders,” they added.

The team also found a strong genetic overlap with other traits, such as anxiety disorders, depression and neuroticism, and low subjective wellbeing.

[Read the fully study here]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Scientists Discover First Genes for Insomnia

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