New Clues to Biological Clock

Study unravels genetic network controlling circadian rhythms

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THURSDAY, Jan. 27, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- Japanese scientists have clarified the heart of the genetic network of the biological clock, the system that controls the body's circadian rhythms.

Previous research showed that 16 clock and clock-related genes function as parts of the biological clock. But those studies didn't shed light on how these 16 genes compose the biological clock.

This new study provides an entire picture of the network composed of these 16 genes and also outlines how these genes work at specific times in the morning, daytime and night.

The findings appear in the online edition of Nature Genetics.

The biological clock controls the rhythms for various functions, such as sleep, awakening, hormone secretion and changes in blood pressure and body temperature.

Understanding the biological clock may help in the development of therapies for various health problems caused by circadian rhythm disorders.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about circadian rhythms.

SOURCE: Nature Genetics, news release, Jan. 23, 2005

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