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This chapter describes the methods used in animal models of sleep to dissect the genetic basis of complex traits that is to say, traits in which variation has both environmental and genetic sources, and in which the genetic component consists of multiple genetic loci. Crosses between inbred strains are still the most widely used method for mapping loci involved in complex traits in model organisms. Cross between inbred strains generates genetically identical offspring, with one chromosome from one strain and one from the other. Genetic mapping using inbred strain crosses proceeds by determining where in the genome genetic variation is associated with phenotypic variation. Two difficulties confront in silico mapping: low power and unequal degrees of relatedness between inbred strains. One attempt to deal with the problem of low power in inbred strain analyses is the development of the hybrid mouse diversity panel (HMDP).
This chapter focuses on the extent to which modafinil sustains/restores various aspects of cognitive performance during sleep deprivation in normal healthy adults. The earliest published studies of modafinil's effects in humans were conducted by Saletu and colleagues, and involved non-sleep-deprived young adult and elderly volunteers. The first published study of modafinil's dose-response effects on cognitive performance during sleep loss was performed at the Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) laboratory. The focus of an increasing number of studies is the effect of sleep loss on tasks of executive functioning. Executive functions encompass a wide range of mental abilities including critical reasoning, planning, flexible thinking, and effective judgment. Deficits in one or more of these abilities due to sleep loss and circadian factors are thought to be the underlying cause of mishaps such as Three Mile Island.