MECP2, Fruit Flies, and Sleep

13 March 2012 The Genetics Society of America reported this week on some studies looking at the effects of human genes in Drosophila melanogaster, better known to most of us as fruit flies. Among these reports are a study of MECP2 levels in flies that have MECP2 genes added. MECP2 is not normally present in fruit flies. Sarah Certel, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Montana-Missoula found that the extra MECP2 resulted in fragmented sleep, a finding that should not be surprising to those familiar with MECP2 Duplication Syndrome. MECP2 has previously been shown to be critical in the regulation of circadian rhythms which regulate the sleep-wake cycle according to the presence of light.

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