night owls vs. the early birds

Are you a night owl late for your day job again? Tell your boss to blame your genes. British researchers from the University of Surrey report in Sleep, the journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, that they have found a link between a person’s preference for nights or days and a gene called Per3. The gene is involved in regulating the body’s internal clock and comes in two forms, long and short. The researchers took cell samples from people’s cheeks and analyzed their DNA and then compared the results to questionnaires given earlier that helped identify the subjects as morning or evening people. Early risers were more likely to have the long version of the gene, whereas night owls were more likely to sport the shorter.

This news brief appeared in the Random Data column of the Boston Globe’s Health/Science section on 6/24/2003.
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