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Scientists Discover First Genes for Insomnia

Scientists Discover First Genes for Insomnia

Jun 12, 2017

Researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and elsewhere have identified seven risk genes for insomnia.

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 “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).”

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