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Rutgers researchers have identified a siesta-suppressing gene in fruit flies, which sheds light on the biology that helps many creatures, including humans, balance the benefits of a good nap against those of getting important activities done during the day.
Many animals take midday naps, or siestas, that are more intense on warm days—probably an evolved protection against exposure to the hot noontime sun, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology. In humans, short naps help with memory and learning, but too much daytime sleep is associated with diabetes, Parkinson's and other diseases.
Researchers - Rutgers - Center - Advanced - Biotechnology
The researchers at Rutgers' Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine found a gene in Drosophila flies that, when temperatures are cool, activates to suppress the flies' tendency to take a daytime nap—presumably so they can spend additional time seeking food or mates. The researchers named the gene "daywake."
"This gene contributes to behavioral flexibility, or the ability to hide from the noontime sun when weather is hot but engage in activities good for survival when the weather is cool. That probably helped these flies expand beyond their ancestral...
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