Washington: Scientist have identified a common gene variant that helps determine the time you will wake up each day.Furthermore, this new discovery not only demonstrates this common polymorphism influences the rhythms of people’s day-to-day lives -- it also finds this genetic variant helps determine the time of day a person is most likely to die.The surprising findings could help with scheduling shift work and planning medical treatments, as well as in monitoring the conditions of vulnerable patients.“The internal ‘biological clock’ regulates many aspects of human biology and behaviour, such as preferred sleep times, times of peak cognitive performance, and the timing of many physiological processes. It also influences the timing of acute medical events like stroke and heart attack,” said first author Andrew Lim, MD, who conducted the work as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).Teaming up with investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Lim and his colleagues compared the wake-sleep behavior of 1,200 people individuals with their genotypes.They soon discovered a single nucleotide near a gene called “Period 1” that varied between two groups that differed in their wake-sleep behavior. At this particular site in the genome, 60 percent of individuals have the nucleotide base termed adenine (A) and 40 percent have the nucleotide base termed guanine (G). Because we have two sets of chromosomes, in any given individual, there’s about a 36 percent chance of having two As, a 16 percent chance of having two Gs, and a 48 percent chance of having a mixture of A and G at this site.
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