The Francis Crick Institute
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Divergent evolution of sleep in Drosophila species.

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-18, 11:23 authored by Michaela Joyce, Federica A Falconio, Laurence Blackhurst, Lucia Prieto-Godino, Alice S French, Giorgio F Gilestro
Living organisms synchronize their biological activities with the earth's rotation through the circadian clock, a molecular mechanism that regulates biology and behavior daily. This synchronization factually maximizes positive activities (e.g., social interactions, feeding) during safe periods, and minimizes exposure to dangers (e.g., predation, darkness) typically at night. Beyond basic circadian regulation, some behaviors like sleep have an additional layer of homeostatic control, ensuring those essential activities are fulfilled. While sleep is predominantly governed by the circadian clock, a secondary homeostatic regulator, though not well-understood, ensures adherence to necessary sleep amounts and hints at a fundamental biological function of sleep beyond simple energy conservation and safety. Here we explore sleep regulation across seven Drosophila species with diverse ecological niches, revealing that while circadian-driven sleep aspects are consistent, homeostatic regulation varies significantly. The findings suggest that in Drosophilids, sleep evolved primarily for circadian purposes. The more complex, homeostatically regulated functions of sleep appear to have evolved independently in a species-specific manner, and are not universally conserved. This laboratory model may reproduce and recapitulate primordial sleep evolution.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2067, Grant title: Godino CC2067) European Research Council (Grant ID: 802531 - EvolutioNeuroCircuit, Grant title: ERC 802531 - EvolutioNeuroCircuit)