Institute of Medical Psychology

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Chronogenetics (humans)

Scientific profile

Sleep is an active and complex behaviour yet it has two straightforward properties – timing and duration. They are influenced by two physiological mechanisms: a homeostatic (how long have we been awake) and a circadian process (timing of sleep). We investigate the genetic basis of these mechanisms using high-through-put genomic approaches for population based association studies. For this purpose, we assess the distribution of sleep timing and duration in human populations worldwide (see location of collaborating groups below – yellow circles).


Current projects:

  • Genome-wide association studies on the sleep and circadian phenotypes
  • Latitudinal influence on the worldwide distribution of chronotype
  • German Extreme Chronotypes (
  • Cronotipo - Brazil (
  • Epidemiology and genetics of the circadian phenotype on a population from the Southern region of Brazil

Project leader: Dr. Karla Viviani Allebrandt

Recent publications:

Allebrandt, K.V.; Amin, N.; Müller-Myhsok, B.; Esko, T.; Teder-Laving, M.; Azevedo, R.V.D.M.; Hayward, C.; van Mill, J; Vogelzangs, N.; Green, E.W; Melville, S.A.; Lichtner, P.; Wichmann, E.; Oostra, B.A.; Janssens, A.C.J.W.; Campbell, H.; Wilson, J.F.; Hicks, A.A.; Pramstaller, P.P.; Dogas, Z.; Rudan, I.; Merrow, M.; Penninx, B.; Kyriacou, C.P.; Metspalu, A.; van Duijn, C.M.; Meitinger, T. and Roenneberg, T. A KATP channel gene effect on sleep duration: from genome wide association studies to function in Drosophila. Mol Psychiatry, 2011 Dec 11  [Epub ahead of print].

Levandovski, R.; Dantas, G.; Fernandes, L.C.; Caumo, W.; Torres, I.; Roenneberg, T.; Hidalgo, M.P.L.; Allebrandt, K.V. Depressive scores associate with chronotype and social jetlag in a rural population. Chronobiol Inter, 28(9):771-8.

Schneider, M.L.M; Vasconcellosa, D.C.; Dantasac, G.; Levandovskia, R.; Caumoa, W.; Allebrandt, K.V.; Doring, M.; Hidalgo, M.P.L. (2011) Morningness-eveningness, use of stimulants, and minor psychiatric disorders among undergraduate students. Int J Psychol 46(1):18-23.

Allebrandt, K.V.; Teder-Laving, M.; Akyol, M.; Pichler, I.; Müller-Myhsok, B.; Pramstaller, P.; Merrow, M.; Meitinger, T.; Metspalu, A. & Roenneberg, T. (2010) CLOCK Gene Variants Associate with Sleep Duration in Two Independent Populations. Biol Psychiatry 67(11):1040-7.

Allebrandt, K.V. & Roenneberg, T. (2008) The Search for circadian clock components in humans: new perspectives for association studies. Braz J Med Bio Res 41:716-721.

Roenneberg, T.; Kuehnle, T.; Juda, M.; Kantermann, T.; Allebrandt, K.; Gordijn, M. & Merrow, M. (2007) Epidemiology of the human circadian clock. Sleep Med Rev 11:429-38.