Toward a Molecular Approach to Chronotype Assessment

J Biol Rhythms. 2022 Jun;37(3):272-282. doi: 10.1177/07487304221099365. Epub 2022 May 18.


The aim of the present study was to develop a Polygenic Score-based model for molecular chronotype assessment. Questionnaire-based phenotypical chronotype assessment was used as a reference. In total, 54 extremely morning/morning (MM/M; 35 females, 39.7 ± 3.8 years) and 44 extremely evening/evening (EE/E; 20 females, 27.3 ± 7.7 years) individuals donated a buccal DNA sample for genotyping by sequencing of the entire genetic variability of 19 target genes known to be involved in circadian rhythmicity and/or sleep duration. Targeted genotyping was performed using the single primer enrichment technology and a specifically designed panel of 5526 primers. Among 2868 high-quality polymorphisms, a cross-validation approach lead to the identification of 83 chronotype predictive variants, including previously known and also novel chronotype-associated polymorphisms. A large (35 single-nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) and also a small (13 SNPs) panel were obtained, both with an estimated predictive validity of approximately 80%. Potential mechanistic hypotheses for the role of some of the newly identified variants in modulating chronotype are formulated. Once validated in independent populations encompassing the whole range of chronotypes, the identified panels might become useful within the setting of both circadian public health initiatives and precision medicine.

Keywords: chronotype; eveningness; morningness; polygenic score; single primer enrichment technology; single-nucleotide polymorphisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm* / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sleep* / genetics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires