How the body clock works can lead to other advances, such as the science of being able to turn early hours up late and vice versa, and helping crops grow all year round.
In Applied Physics Reviews by AIP Publishing, scientists at Penn State University report on research that advances knowledge about circadian rhythms, the natural processes that govern sleep and wake patterns in humans, animals, and plants.
Researchers have identified a set of genes called clock genes that control these rhythms. However, a more complex genetic network than previously known seems to be associated with circadian rhythms. A more complete understanding of this network is the key to understanding how rhythm works and can potentially change.
The author details the statistical model used to identify all the genes involved in this network. With the help of scientists in other disciplines, they want to fully understand how these genes work together to make one person more productive early in the morning and another prosper in the middle of the night. thinking about.
Doing so can lead to the creation of medicines that naturally help people who are in the daytime but need to work at night, or who are struggling to be productive first thing in the morning.
Understanding the gene for the night owl allows us to develop drugs that activate the gene for early rising birds that have to live like a night owl. ”
Center for Statistical Genetics, Pennsylvania State Center, Author, Director, Rongling Wu
There are also possible health benefits. Circadian rhythm disturbances are associated with health problems such as depression, anxiety, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
And while most people probably think about human circadian rhythms, plants and animals also have circadian rhythms. Breakthroughs in understanding clock gene networks can help increase crop production.
For example, wheat that tends to “rest” during the day can be modified to grow all day and be harvested faster. Alternatively, crops that do not grow well in the northern regions, where there is little sunlight and low temperatures, may have been genetically modified to ignore those conditions.
“We can increase production,” Wu said. “If you can activate the right gene, you can use it all the time, but to better understand these complex issues, you need to bring together different researchers from other disciplines.”
Understanding the genetic network of the biological clock can help turn early birds into the night and vice versa.
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