Turns Out Lack of Sleep DOES Affect Adult Behavior -- For Fruit Flies, At Least

Remember how Mom always nagged you to get your sleep?  She may have been right.

At least, if you're a fruit fly.

A new study says that "lack of sleep in young fruit flies profoundly diminishes their ability to do one thing they do really, really well – make more flies," according to newswise.com.

Research links sleep disruption in newborn fruit flies with a critical adult behavior: courtship and mating.

Scientists, who investigated the link between sleep disruption and human neuropsychiatric diseases, used the fly – which is far more genetically pliant than mammals -- to ask two basic questions: Why do young animals sleep so much? And, what is the implication of altering those patterns?

What is the consequence of sleep loss? Increased dopamine in young flies (who sleep a lot) not only causes sleep loss, but also affects their ability to court when they’re older. “The flies spend less time courting, and those that do usually don’t make it all the way to the end,” newswise quotes study leader Amita Sehgal PhD, professor of Neuroscience and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Though no direct lines can be drawn, the study “does provide the first mechanistic link between sleep in early life and adult behavior,” says Sehgal.


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