Do insects sleep? The surprising answer is, “Yes, Insects sleep.” The reasons behind the need for sleep are unclear. However, lack of sleep in fruit flies can impair behavioral response to stimuli in the same way that sleep depravation impairs some human responses. If fruit flies are deprived of sleep (some annoying entomologist keeps them up all night) they will later sleep for longer periods to compensate for the sleep loss.
Control of sleep in humans and in fruit flies has a genetic component. Fruit flies are useful experimental models for the study of sleep genes because of the ability to manipulate fly genes and get timely results.
A recent study published in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry is a good example of the utility of fruit flies for studies of human genetics and medicine. In the paper,
A KATP channel gene effect on sleep duration: from genome-wide association studies to…
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