Hundreds of genes might decide whether you’re an early bird or night owl

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(Susan Scutti/ CNN) — Some people are genetically programmed to be early birds, others night owls. The amount of DNA influencing this natural preference is dramatically larger than the 24 genes identified in the past, new research indicates.

“Using data from 700,000 individuals, we’ve found 351 genetic factors that influence whether you prefer mornings or evenings,” said Michael Weedon, senior author of the new study, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, and an associate professor at the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK. “These factors affect what time people sleep and wake up.”

An international collaboration, which included universities and research organizations in the UK, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia, conducted the study that boasted 250,000 US-based participants enrolled with 23andMe, a company that provides private genomic analyses, and 450,000 people registered with UK Biobank, a nonprofit health resource. (…)

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