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Research Project: Personalized Nutrition and Healthy Aging

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Genetics of sleep and insights into its relationship with obesity

item DASHTI, HASSAN - Massachusetts General Hospital
item ORDOVAS, JOSE - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: Annual Review of Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2021
Publication Date: 6/8/2021
Citation: Dashti, H.S., Ordovas, J.M. 2021. Genetics of sleep and insights into its relationship with obesity. Annual Review of Nutrition.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Considerable recent advancements in elucidating the genetic architecture of sleep traits and sleep disorders may provide insight into the relationship between sleep and obesity. Despite the considerable involvement of the circadian clock in sleep and metabolism, few shared genes, including FTO, were implicated in genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of sleep and obesity. Polygenic scores composed of signals from GWASs of sleep traits show largely null associations with obesity, suggesting lead variants are unique to sleep. Modest genome-wide genetic correlations are observed between many sleep traits and obesity and are largest for snoring. Notably, U-shaped positive genetic correlations with body mass index (BMI) exist for both short and long sleep durations. Findings from Mendelian randomization suggest robust causal effects of insomnia on higher BMI and, conversely, of higher BMI on snoring and daytime sleepiness. Bidirectional effects between sleep duration and daytime napping with obesity may also exist. Limited gene-sleep interaction studies suggest that achieving favorable sleep, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may attenuate genetic predisposition to obesity, but whether these improvements produce clinically meaningful reductions in obesity risk remains unclear. Investigations of the genetic link between sleep and obesity for sleep disorders other than insomnia and in populations of non-European ancestry are currently limited.