Send to

Choose Destination
Genetics. 2016 May;203(1):21-33. doi: 10.1534/genetics.116.189589.

Sleep and Development in Genetically Tractable Model Organisms.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, and Penn Chronobiology Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
Department of Physics, The James Franck Institute, and the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637


Sleep is widely recognized as essential, but without a clear singular function. Inadequate sleep impairs cognition, metabolism, immune function, and many other processes. Work in genetic model systems has greatly expanded our understanding of basic sleep neurobiology as well as introduced new concepts for why we sleep. Among these is an idea with its roots in human work nearly 50 years old: sleep in early life is crucial for normal brain maturation. Nearly all known species that sleep do so more while immature, and this increased sleep coincides with a period of exuberant synaptogenesis and massive neural circuit remodeling. Adequate sleep also appears critical for normal neurodevelopmental progression. This article describes recent findings regarding molecular and circuit mechanisms of sleep, with a focus on development and the insights garnered from models amenable to detailed genetic analyses.


Caenorhabditis elegans; Danio rerio; Drosophila melanogaster; development; invertebrate sleep; ontogeny; sleep

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center