Neurology Central

Study identifies an association between genetics and sleep duration

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, data from the Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative (CPMC) has been utilized to identify the genes associated with sleep duration, whilst also exploring the connection between sleep and demographic and lifestyle factors.

The CPMC explores the worth of genetic information in the clinical setting, incorporating data from more than 8500 participants. In this analysis, researchers used data from 4401 individuals and investigated associations between self-reported sleep duration and age, gender, weight, physical activity, physical activity at work, smoking status, alcohol consumption, ethnicity, and ancestry as well as genetic contributions to sleep duration.

The findings implicated several genes including those involved in ATP metabolism, circadian rhythms, narcolepsy, sleep cycles in mice, and bear hibernation. Novel genes including NFATC2 and SALL4 were also identified.

“The fundamental biological purpose of sleep is still not understood,” commented Michael Christman(Coriell Institute; NJ, USA). “But by engaging a diverse participant population and accumulating rich datasets, the CPMC research study is pursuing the type of insights that will help us learn more about sleep duration and, ultimately, improve human health.”

Explaining the results, lead author Laura Scheinfeldt stated: “Individuals who average six hours or less are more susceptible to adverse health issues, and we found that participants enrolled in the CPMC study vary greatly in the amount of sleep they receive. Effectively, by learning more about an individual’s sleep patterns and considering environmental and genetic risk factors, physicians may one day be able to identify risks before they occur and target health solutions.”

The CPMC was founded in 2007 and has published more than 20 publications examining a range of human conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, lung and breast cancer and diabetes.

Sources: Coriell Institute for Medical Research press release: ; Scheinfeldt LB et al. Using the Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative Data to conduct a genome-wide association study of sleep duration. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 168(8), 697–705 (2015).