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It’s way past my bedtime but I am still in the throws of preparing classes, organising notes and doing some filing while I am at it. Now this may seem excessive to some but I am a night owl and enjoy the past midnight hours, the quite of the night, the dark skies filled with dancing stars or eerie clouds and my mind free to run wild.

Sadly I can’t often give in to my witching hour desires because convention demands a daytime working schedule. But every now and then I willingly pay the price of lack of sleep to let my nightly surge of energy out.

What I didn’t know till quite recently is that 50% of this nighttime urge of mine could be down to genetics. A study from 2007 by the Mammalian Genetics Unit in Harwell, Oxfordshire, the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge and the New York University School of Medicine, USA found that in some cases there is a mutation on the gene Fbxl3, which is linked to the circadian cycle (24hours), and this mutation allows the carriers to have a cycle of about 27hours opposed to the standard 24hours. The scientists named this abnormality aptly the “after-hours mutant” and somehow it makes me think of the X-Men.

So while I sadly do not have the ability to read thoughts, move objects with my mind, change my appearance to match the wall-paper nor can I fly run very fast or turn things into ice or fire, but I do seem to tolerate late nights extremely well.

Further research into night owls and early morning larks has shown mixed result but it does tickle my ego a little to know that on average the nightly mutant tends to be more intelligent and creative, even though the larks get better grades and are more successful in their chosen careers.

With that in mind I better get back to clearing my desk as I do have to get up tomorrow and teach all day, which I can do on little sleep but find hard to do on none at all.

Somewhere here mine could look a little funny

Somewhere here mine could look a little funny

So You Are A ‘Nightowl’? The After-Hours Gene Might Be The Reason Why