A surprise about our body clock

Posted on July 5, 2006 

A surprise about our body clock

The first gene known to control the internal clock of humans and other mammals works much differently than previously believed, according to a study by Utah and Michigan researchers.

The surprising discovery means scientists must change their approach to designing new drugs to treat jet lag, insomnia, some forms of depression, sleep problems in shift workers and other circadian rhythm disorders, according to researchers at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The study – which involved the so-called tau mutation that causes hamsters to have a 20-hour day instead of a 24-hour day – will be published online the week of July 3 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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