This web page was produced as an assignment for an undergraduate course at Davidson College.

The Short Sleeper Gene

Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art

Does a single genetic mutation allow people to feel fully rested after relatively little sleep?

Sleep is essential for life, but it seems that some people are capable of functioning on less sleep than others. Recently, scientists have identified a mutation in the gene DEC2, which is involved in sleep regulation, that appears to reduce the amount of sleep people need. This discovery has been described in both the scientific literature and in the public media. This web page offers general information on this gene, summarizes both the scientific and public media portrayals of the discovery, and compares these two portrayals.


The Short Sleeper Gene & Mutation

Public Media Portrayal

Scientific Portrayal



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