A new study of twins suggests that insomnia in adults is partially explained by genetic factors, and this heritability is higher in females than in males.
Results show that the genetic influences on insomnia symptoms in adults were substantial and largely stable over time while differing significantly by sex. The estimated heritability of insomnia was 59 percent for females and 38 percent for males.
“This study indicates that genes may play a larger role in the development of insomnia symptoms for women than for men, providing some of the first formal evidence for sex differences in an adult sample,” said first author Mackenzie Lind, a doctoral candidate at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “Given the evidence for sex differences, it may be useful to specifically target females for sleep interventions.”
Study results appear in the September issue of the journal Sleep. aasmnet.org
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4 N.C. universities among world’s 100 most innovative
Four universities in the Carolinas are ranked among the world’s top 100 schools for innovation. The goal of the first-ever Reuters Top 100, released last week, was to “identify which institutions contribute the most to science and technology, and have the greatest impact on the global economy.”
California’s Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, respectively, were the top three. The most innovative university in Europe, Imperial College London, ranked No. 11.
UNC-Chapel Hill was No. 15; Duke University, No. 17; N.C. State, No. 68; Wake Forest University, No. 78. thomsonreuters.com
Scientists at Duke learn genetic code for proteins’ response
Scientists at Duke University have deciphered the genetic code that instructs proteins to either self-assemble or disassemble in response to environmental stimuli, such as changes in temperature, salinity or acidity.
The research also provides new insights into the everyday functions of cells. Because the laboratory identified the genetic sequences that encode this behavior, they were able to point out a long list of human proteins that likely exhibit it.
It is the first time scientists have reported the ability to create biological structures that are readily programmed to assemble and disassemble. The study investigated several triggers that can cause protein structures to assemble or break apart, but it primarily focused on heat.
Ashutosh Chilkoti, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke, said, “We can now, with a flick of a switch and a temperature jump, make a huge range of biological molecules that either assemble or disassemble.”
The study appears in the journal Nature Materials. duke.edu