New research, published just last week in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that being an early riser is simply present in some people’s DNA — and not in the DNA of others’. The study has managed to isolate 15 areas in the human genome that are associated with either the tendency toward or against “morningness.” Morningness. Isn’t that a great way to describe it? Next time someone asks you why you are so grumpy while you try to morosely down a cup of coffee, tell them that you simply lack the 15 areas found in the human genome that orient a person towards morningness.Or just grunt at them, if that’s your usual morning method of communication. Dr. Youna Hu, scientist and lead author of the paper, explained the study in a statement.
“In this study we set out to discover more about an individual’s preference toward early rising, and were able to identify the genetic associations with ‘morningness’ as well as ties to lifestyle patterns and other traits.”
The study is one of the largest genetic studies of its type, according to the Huffington Post. Researchers collected data on more than 89,000 adults and, for the first time, were able to draw a distinct link between the possession of certain genes and reports of being a “morning person” — or not a morning person.
So, it’s basically just one more thing you can totally blame on your parents.
Seven of the 15 genes linked with being a morning person are closely associated with circadian rhythms, which is the body’s 24-hour cycle of rest and activity. The cycle follows the daily cycle of dark and light, and dictate a number of physical, psychological and behavioral changes that occur throughout the day. This, the study claims, suggests that those cycles and rythyms also play an important role in a preference for mornings or evenings. In addition to concentrating on the circadian rhythms, the study also focused on common traits that often overlap from one morning person to another. One commonality had to do with gender and age — for example, women, as well as adults over the age of 60, were more likely to be morning people. So, when your Nana calls you at 8 a.m., don’t get angry. She really isn’t doing it on purpose. In defense of morning people everywhere, the study found that there are certain health benefits to being a morning person. Morning people are less likely to suffer from insomnia or depression than those people who describe themselves as night owls. They also have lower average BMIs than self-described night owls.”What is new is we were able to show that variation in these genes affects our individual preferences for mornings or evenings,” Dr. David Hinds, a statistical geneticist and one of the study’s authors, told the Huffington Post. “The work also implicates some genes that have not previously been known to have a circadian role, which may point to new and interesting biology.”
However, the authors of the study point out that genetics are simply one key factor to being — or not being — a morning person.
“Our genetics influences our preferences and lifestyle choices, and with these kinds of studies becoming possible, can help us understand or explain why we have the preferences we do,” Hinds said. “Still, many other factors are important, and our preferences are not predetermined by our genetics.”
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