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The genetics of sleep 

The genetics of sleep
The genetics of sleep

Alexandra Sousek

, and Mehdi Tafti

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date: 19 October 2020

Although there is strong evidence for a genetic contribution to inter-individual variations in sleep, the underlying factors and their interaction remain largely elusive. Much effort has been expended in studying genetic variations contributing to circadian and sleep phenotypes, the individual pattern of the human sleep EEG, reactions to sleep loss, and the pathophysiology of sleep-related disorders. Certain sleep-related diseases may be caused by single genes, while the etiology of others seems to be variable and complex. This is especially the case when the immune system is involved. This chapter reports on twin and familial studies, genetic variations and mutations affecting neurotransmitters and other signaling pathways and thereby affecting sleep, and impacts of gene expression processes and the immune system on sleep. Although much knowledge has been gained, further research is needed to elucidate the all-embracing mechanisms and their interactions that regulate sleep.

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