Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Social Experience and the Need to Sleep

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Science's STKE  26 Sep 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 354, pp. tw336
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3542006tw336

Sleep is widely observed in the animal kingdom and yet we still don’t know why it is beneficial. Studying Drosophila, Ganguly-Fitzgerald et al. developed a strategy for elucidating the mechanisms underlying the need to sleep. They observed that a rich social experience, versus an impoverished one, increased the duration of sleep, which in turn was promoted by processes that underlie learning and memory, such as dopamine and cyclic adenosine monophosphate signaling pathways. Mutations in 17 genes were found to disrupt experience-dependent changes in sleep.

I. Ganguly-Fitzgerald, J. Donlea, P. J. Shaw, Waking experience affects sleep need in Drosophila. Science 313, 1775-1781 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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