A genetic research robot has helped scientists discover a new molecule, dubbed "longdaysin," that has potent effects on the biological clock, potentially leading to new treatments for jet lag and a suite of sleep disorders.
The new compound lengthened the biological clocks of larval zebrafish by more than 10 hours, scientists say.
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes," quips a character in the science fiction story "Ender's Game." But scientists have now found a mother and daughter whose rare genetic mutation allows them to wake up refreshed on just six hours of sleep -- two hours less than the rest of the family requires.
The 69-year-old mother and 44-year-old daughter usually hit the sack around 10 p.m., and get up around 4 and 4:40 a.m., respectively. Both women have a genetic mutation which affects the regulation of circadian rhythms, or the body's natural clock.