Courtesy of Science

The fruit fly circadian cycle shares three strong similarities with the mammalian: the per gene itself, CLOCK and BMAL regulation of per, and a gene called tau in hamsters and double-time (dbt) in flies, both of which encode the enzyme CKI*.
Molecular biologists have been teasing apart the intricate innards of organisms' biological clocks for decades, gaining rare insight into a veritable bridge between genes and behavior. Those clocks' circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycles that govern physiological and metabolic functions, enable organisms to follow the outside world's cues of light and dark.

A better understanding of circadian rhythms promises to shed light on the mechanics of sleeping disorders, help optimize drug delivery, help night shifters improve alertness, and elucidate the anatomy of seasonal affective disorders and manic depressive illness. Potential applications, though, extend beyond humans to plants and animals whose photoperiodism might one day be adjustable so...

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