Volume 571 Issue 7764, 11 July 2019

Snooze report

What is sleep like for fish? That is the question addressed in this week’s issue by Philippe Mourrain, Louis Leung and their colleagues. Although various stages of sleep have been identified and defined in mammals, birds and reptiles, it was not clear if the same held true for other vertebrates such as fish. Using non-invasive molecular, imaging and physiological tools, the Stanford researchers observed neural signatures in zebrafish that can be identified as at least two different sleep states. These states bear similarities to the slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep states seen in other organisms. The identification of such signatures in fish suggests that these sleep states may have emerged in the vertebrate brain more than 450 million years ago.

Cover image of a sleeping white spotted pufferfish: Tunatura/Shutterstock

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