By Rex Graham
UC San Diego researchers are determining what makes circadian clocks tick. These 24-hour rhythms are ubiquitous in nature and understanding how they work could pave the way to improved health, more productive crops and maybe even a better night’s sleep.
Even Charles Darwin was fascinated with circadian rhythms and made detailed measurements of mustard leaf movements. Some credit his work with, shall we say seeding the modern study of circadian clocks in all life forms. Modern plant scientists even use the mustard plant, Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system.
Steve Kay, the former dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego, and his team at the time studied the components and organization of circadian networks in plants and animals, given that circadian rhythms play a central role in regulating physiology and behavior in most organisms. Subscribe to read more
“These results highlight the conclusion that the connectivity of SCN individual neurons is a major contributor to the stable circadian oscillation of the brain’s master clock,” Welsh’s team wrote in a 2011 paper published in the European Journal of Neuroscience.