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Institute of Advanced Study

IAS Staff

Publication details for Prof Robert A. Barton

Preston, Brian, T., Capellini, Isabella., McNamara, Patrick., Barton, Robert A. & Nunn, Charles, L. (2009). Parasite resistance and the adaptive significance of sleep. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9(7).

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Sleep is a biological enigma. Despite occupying much of an animal's life, and having been scrutinized by numerous experimental studies, there is still no consensus on its function. Similarly, no hypothesis has yet explained why species have evolved such marked variation in their sleep requirements (from 3 to 20 hours a day in mammals). One intriguing but untested idea is that sleep has evolved by playing an important role in protecting animals from parasitic infection. This theory stems, in part, from clinical observations of intimate physiological links between sleep and the immune system. Here, we test this hypothesis by conducting comparative analyses of mammalian sleep, immune system parameters, and parasitism.

Contact Details

Institute of Advanced Study
Durham University
Cosin's Hall
Palace Green
Durham 
DH1 3RL
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2589
Email: enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk