Lots of people fall asleep at a reasonable hour each night. But some have trouble falling asleep, and stay awake for a long time. Scientists at Johns Hopkins may have figured out one reason why. They’ve discovered a gene that affects how the biological clock sets the timing for sleep. They found that a mutation in the gene affected whether fruit flies could fall asleep—and they know that the same gene exists in humans.
The study was published yesterday in the journal Neuron. It was led by Mark Wu, a professor of neurology and genetic medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Nathan Sterner talks with him about the work.