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‘Restless legs’ gene wakes up sleeping flies

Mutations in a gene linked to restless legs syndrome (RLS) in humans appear to disturb sleep in fruit flies.

The mutant flies wake up more often during sleep periods, which resembles a key feature of human RLS, acccording to a study by researchers at Emory University. The results are published in the journal Current Biology.

The same mutations in BTBD9 also reduce levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the flies. Some kind of deficiency in dopamine signaling is thought to lie behind RLS in humans.

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