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Ancient body clock discovered that helps to keep all living things on time

 

Ancient body clock discovered that helps to keep all living things on time

26 January 2011

The mechanism that controls the internal 24-hour clock of all forms of life from human cells to algae has been identified by scientists.

Not only does the research provide important insight into health-related problems linked to individuals with disrupted clocks – such as pilots and shift workers – it also indicates that the 24-hour circadian clock found in human cells is the same as that found in algae and dates back millions of years to early life on Earth.

Two new studies out tomorrow, 27 January, in the journal Nature from the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh give insight into the circadian clock which controls patterns of daily and seasonal activity, from sleep cycles to butterfly migrations.

One study, from the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, has for the first time identified 24-hour rhythms in red blood cells. This is significant because circadian rhythms have always been assumed to be linked to DNA and gene activity, but – unlike most of the other cells in the body – red blood cells do not have DNA.

Read the full Article: Ancient body clock discovered that helps to keep all living things on time

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