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The Gene That Causes Sleep


Lots of people fall asleep at a reasonable hour each night.  But some have trouble falling asleep, and stay awake for a long time.  Scientists at Johns Hopkins may have figured out one reason why. They’ve discovered a gene that affects how the biological clock sets the timing for sleep.  They found that a mutation in the gene affected whether fruit flies could fall asleep—and they know that the same gene exists in humans.

The study was published yesterday in the journal Neuron.  It was led by Mark Wu, a professor of neurology and genetic medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  Nathan Sterner talks with him about the work.

Credit Johns Hopkins
Neuroscientist Mark Wu

"If radio were a two-way visual medium," Nathan would see WYPR listeners every weekday between 5am and 3pm. Weekday mornings, Nathan serves up the latest Maryland news and weather (interspersed with the occasional snarky comment). Nathan also does continuity breaks through the midday, adds audio flaire to Sheilah Kast's "On The Record," infrequently fills in for Tom Hall on "Midday," does all sorts of fundraising stuff, AND "additional tasks where assigned". When not at WYPR, Nathan teaches a class on audio documentary at Towson University, and spends their spare time running around Baltimore's neighborhoods and hiking around Maryland's natural areas. Before coming to WYPR, Nathan spent 8 years at WAMU in Washington -- working every job from part-time receptionist to on-air host, gaining experience in promotions, fundraising, audience analysis, and program production. They've also served as a fundraising consultant, assisting dozens of public radio stations nationwide with on-air fundraisers. Originally from rural Pennsylvania, Nathan has called Charm City home since 2005.