Restless Leg Syndrome Gene Found in Flies
The mysterious condition restless leg syndrome mayِ haveِ a genetic cause, a newِ study inِ fruit flies suggests.
Researchers messed withِ a gene called BTBD9, andِ found theyِ disrupted theِ flies’ normallyِ sound sleep.
The major significance ofِ our study isِ to highlight theِ fact thatِ there mightِ beِ a genetic basis forِ RLS restless leg syndrome], study researcher Subhabrata Sanyal, ofِ Emory University inِ Georgia, saidِ inِ a statement.
People withِ restless leg syndrome haveِ anِ irresistible urge toِ move, toِ rid themselvesِ ofِ unpleasant leg sensations, thatِ getsِ worse whenِ theyِ try toِ rest.
It’s unclear whatِ theِ gene’s normal role is, soِ Sanyal andِ colleagues decided toِ seeِ what wouldِ happen toِ theِ flies ifِ they snipped theِ gene outِ ofِ the flies’ DNA.
They foundِ that flies withoutِ BTBD9 moved moreِ often thanِ normal flies, andِ lost sleep becauseِ of thisِ movement.
The mutant flies alsoِ had changesِ to theirِ brain chemistry: Their dopamine levels wereِ halfِ those ofِ normal flies.
They alsoِ had lowِ levels ofِ iron, a symptom alsoِ seen inِ people withِ restless leg syndrome.
When givenِ a restless leg syndrome drug, whichِ influences dopamine levels, theِ flies’ nighttime jitteriness andِ other symptoms improved.