Real mutants live among us with real super powers:
No one knows why some lucky folks thrive on five or six hours of sleep per night, while the rest of us suffer if we don’t get eight hours of shut-eye. But now scientists have discovered a genetic mutation that could be responsible for the eternal perkiness of short-sleepers.
Combing through a database of sleep-study volunteers, the researchers found two people who needed far less sleep than average. Both had abnormal copies of a gene called DEC2, which is known to affect circadian rhythms and oxygen regulation in mammals. When the scientists bred mice to have the same mutation, the mice slept less and were more active than their regular rodent peers.