Narcolepsy Genes Wake Up the Sleep Field

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Science  24 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5436, pp. 2076-2077
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5436.2076

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Narcolepsy, a sleep disorder affecting 1 in 2000 adults, is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and a disruption in REM sleep (the part of our sleep cycle during which we dream). Now, two recent papers in the journal Cell identify the narcolepsy gene in dogs and in mice. In a fascinating Perspective, Takahashi explains that the newly identified gene encodes a receptor for orexin, a neuropeptide involved in feeding behavior and energy metabolism. As discussed by Takahashi, working out the different pathways of feeding and sleep and how they are intertwined will keep many researchers busy for a long time to come.