Why are fruit flies helpful in sleep studies?

For starters, the fruit fly’s genome has been fully mapped, so wide ranging genetic studies are possible. In terms of sleep studies:

• They provide a good model for examining sleep behavior because they exhibit many of the hallmarks of mammalian sleep.

• Like most of us, they sleep deeply at night from which they’re difficult to rouse and they have a preferred sleeping posture. They also enjoy afternoon naps.

• If they are sleep deprived, they show tiredness the next day.

• If fed caffeine, they stay awake, and they become drowsy if given antihistamines.

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