The electroencephalographic fingerprint of sleep is genetically determined: A twin study

Luigi De Gennaro, Cristina Marzano, Fabiana Fratello, Fabio Moroni, Maria Concetta Pellicciari, Fabio Ferlazzo, Stefania Costa, Alessandro Couyoumdjian, Giuseppe Curcio, Emilia Sforza, Alain Malafosse, Luca A. Finelli, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Michele Ferrara, Mario Bertini, Paolo Maria Rossini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humans have an individual profile of the electroencephalographic power spectra at the 8 to 16Hz frequency during non-rapid eye movement sleep that is stable over time and resistant to experimental perturbations. We tested the hypothesis that this electroencephalographic "fingerprint" is genetically determined, by recording 40 monozygotic and dizygotic twins during baseline and recovery sleep after prolonged wakefulness. We show a largely greater similarity within monozygotic than dizygotic pairs, resulting in a heritability estimate of 96%, not influenced by sleep need and intensity. If replicated, these results will establish the electroencephalographic profile during sleep as one of the most heritable traits of humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-460
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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