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Parasite resistance and the adaptive significance of sleep

Preston, Brian T.; Capellini, Isabella; McNamara, Patrick; Barton, Robert A.; Nunn, Charles L.

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Brian T. Preston

Isabella Capellini

Patrick McNamara

Charles L. Nunn


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.


Preston, B. T., Capellini, I., McNamara, P., Barton, R. A., & Nunn, C. L. (2009). Parasite resistance and the adaptive significance of sleep. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 9(7),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2009
Deposit Date Feb 2, 2009
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2009
Journal BMC Evolutionary Biology
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 7
Publisher URL


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