How big impact genes can have on your mood
Genes and seasonal depression
So far, scientists haven’t been able to identify a mechanism which would explain how changes in the daily rhythm affect our well-being. Although recently, a team of researchers from Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of California, San Francisco, was able to identify a single mutation that could be responsible for such state of affairs.
Sleep, genes & depression
They took a look at a family of three with the so called advanced sleep phase disorder (these sort of people go to bed at a very early hour, and wake up early as well), who also tended to suffer from seasonal depression – mainly during winter, when the days become shorter. They detected an incorrect version of the biological clock gene PER3 in each person. In order to confirm their discovery, the researchers also conducted a study on mice with the corresponding mutation, controlling the length of the day. In case of a shorter day, the animals showed signs of depression and a shift in the biological clock.
Lack of sleep may result in many consequences, and we’re not only talking about rounded eyes or constant yawning, but also mood disorders, such as depression.
So, as it turns out, this gen may be the reason our mood is spoiled during short, grey, winter days, not the weather.