Skip to main content
CNN.com
Search
Home World U.S. Weather Business Sports Analysis Politics Law Tech Science Health Entertainment Offbeat Travel Education Specials Autos I-Reports
Science and Space News
Popular Science

Groggy fruit flies may hold cure for jet lag

By Gregory Mone
Popular Science
Adjust font size:
Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font

(PopSci.comexternal link) -- Geneticist Amita Sehgal of the University of Pennsylvania was recently studying fruit flies in her lab when she noticed something peculiar.

The insects slept normally when bathed in light for 24 hours a day but tossed and turned when shifted from one day/night cycle, or "time zone," to another. It turns out they were suffering from something akin to serious jet lag.

The flies, Sehgal discovered, lacked a protein she's dubbed "Jet" that plays a key role in regulating their body clocks. No Jet, and the flies lose their ability to adapt to changes in the duration of lightness and darkness.

If a similar protein is at work in humans -- a likely scenario, she believes -- it could be possible to banish jet lag altogether.

The allure of such a pharmaceutical would be hard to resist: A traveler could simply pop a pill to increase his light sensitivity, essentially resetting his biological clock and allowing him to adapt instantly to a new time zone.


story.fruitfly.jpg

Groggy fruit flies could lead to the perfect sleeping pill for time-zone hoppers.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Career Builder.com
Quick Job Search
  More Options
International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise with Us About Us Contact Us
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
SERVICES » E-mails RSSRSS Feed PodcastsRadio News Icon CNNtoGo CNN Pipeline
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more