Scientists discover 'wake-up' gene in humans

September 30, 2011 4:14:49 PM PDT
If you know someone who sleeps through the sound of an alarm clock, that person might be missing the "wake-up" gene.

Researchers at Salk Institute in La Jolla claim they've identified a gene that helps us wake up and go in the morning.

Those who have the gene are likely already awake by the time their alarm clock rings.

"In each of our cells, there is a protein," explain Satchin Panda with the Salk Institute. "We call it 'par' and the number of molecules of that par goes up and down in our day."

Researchers say the gene they found controls that protein. So far, the theory has been tested successfully on fruit flies.

Researchers hope the discovery will ultimately lead to therapies that help problem sleepers enjoy a good night's rest.

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