March 15, 2019
Researchers reasoned that if sleep evolved in all organisms with a nervous system then there may be a benefit to neurons. To investigate this theory they bred transparent zebrafish with chromosomes in their neurons that carried colourful chemical tags. They then observed them through a specialized microscope to watch how the chromosomes moved in the neurons, both when they were awake and asleep. The researchers kept the fish awake, and observed that the chromosomes didn’t move much, and that broken strands of DNA built up in the neurons. When the fish were asleep however, the researchers saw that the chromosomes moved far more often, and the DNA damage in their neurons reduced. It is clear from this study that sleep has an essential role to play in DNA repair in the neurons.
Source: The Guardian
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