Unlocking the clock

Ravi Allada (left) and Kevin Keegan (right) getting into the rhythm of their analysis. Credit: Courtesy of Ravi Allada" />Ravi Allada (left) and Kevin Keegan (right) getting into the rhythm of their analysis. Credit: Courtesy of Ravi Allada In October 2004, just as the clocks were changing in Illinois, the focus of Kevin Keegan's graduate work on circadian clocks was changing, too. Keegan, a

Elie Dolgin
May 31, 2008
<figcaption>Ravi Allada (left) and Kevin Keegan (right) getting into the rhythm of their analysis. Credit: Courtesy of Ravi Allada</figcaption>
Ravi Allada (left) and Kevin Keegan (right) getting into the rhythm of their analysis. Credit: Courtesy of Ravi Allada


In October 2004, just as the clocks were changing in Illinois, the focus of Kevin Keegan's graduate work on circadian clocks was changing, too. Keegan, a PhD student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., was developing computer code to analyze preliminary data coming out of a microarray study to find Drosophila circadian rhythm genes. "On a lark," he decided to test his code on some previous circadian gene-hunting studies.

Together with his supervisor, Ravi Allada, Keegan ran the data from those five reports through his pilot algorithm, and out popped a complete surprise: many new genes that the reports had missed and had never been implicated before in daily timing. "I totally didn't expect to find a number of novel genes," he says. Quickly, the original "side project" of sifting through...