Early birds are born, not made

Washington : Blame your parents for your ‘morningness’ as a new study suggests your DNA can influence whether you are an early bird or a night owl.

23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, announced the results of one of the largest genome-wide association studies of its kind, identifying genetic variants associated with being a morning person. The study identified 15 locations in DNA (loci) associated with “morningness.”

Lead researcher Youna Hu said that in this study, they set out to discover more about an individual’s preference toward early rising and were able to identify the genetic associations with “morningness” as well as ties to lifestyle patterns and other traits.”

Hu noted that this type of study speaks to the power of the 23andMe database, which can yield genetic insights into a variety of conditions and traits, and potentially how those genetic factors are affected by behavior and environment.

The study of more than 89,000 23andMe customers who consented to participate in research found that seven of the loci associated with morningness are near genes previously known to be involved in circadian rhythm, including HCRTR2 (linked to narcolepsy), FBXL3 (shown to have extended circadian period) and VIP (found to prolong REM sleep).

Additional findings from the study and data from 23andMe customers include – the majority (56 percent) of participants considered themselves night owls; women and adults over age 60 are more likely to be morning people; and morning people are significantly less likely to have insomnia or require more than eight hours of sleep per day, and less likely to suffer from depression than individuals who reported being “night owls.”

The study is published in Nature Communications. (ANI)