Scientists Find Gene That Controls Body Clock
New research published in the journal Cell reveals that a gene highly active in the brain's hypothalamus appears to control our body clock.
To learn more about the workings of the body clock, the researchers compared the genes of mice with abnormally short body clocks with a control group of animals with normal circadian rhythms. It was during this comparison that the researchers discovered the gene that plays a much more prominent role than previously understood. In the mice, problems in this gene led to miscommunication between cells in this area of the brain, in turn causing the biological clocks of the mice to be much faster than normal.
The researchers note that being unable to synchronize biological rhythms within the brain has previously been associated with various behavioral and psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. This new research may help explain why work schedules that force people to fight against the synchronization of their body clock can lead to mental health and psychiatric disorders.