Bittman Lab Discovers Mutation That Affects Internal Clocks

Research in Biology professor Eric Bittman's lab has identified a mutation that affects the internal circadian clocks that control the timing of mammalian physiology and behavior. The mutation causes an animal's "master clock" (a pacemaker in the brain that sets the clocks that run in cells throughout the body) to run abnormally fast, and also profoundly increases the ability of light to reset biological rhythms. Identification of the gene responsible for the mutation will clarify the mechanisms by which physiological functions are coordinated in time and thereby help explain why we suffer from jet lag and have trouble adjusting to shift work. The lab's findings are described in two recent publications in the Journal of Biological Rhythms.

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