Mammals, fruit flies: same biological clock

March 6, 2006

New York University and University of London scientists say they've found more evidence that mammals and fruit flies share a common genetic makeup.

Drosophila fruit flies are commonly used for research on biological, or circadian, clocks because of the relative ease of finding mutants with non-24-hour rhythms and then identifying the genes underlying the altered behavior.

The NYU and London studies of fruit flies have allowed the identification of "clock genes" in mammals, which function in a similar manner in mammals as they do in a fly's clock. However, prior to the study, biologists had concluded that the role of one protein -- Cryptochrome, called Cry -- was quite different between flies and mammals.

In fruit flies, Cry is a circadian photoreceptor, which helps light reset the biological clock with changing seasons. In mammals, however, Cry assists in the 24-hour rhythmic expression of clock genes and has nothing to do with re-setting the clock.

The study appears in the latest issue of Current Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers identify new potential drug target for Huntington's disease

Related Stories

Why we shouldn't be so quick to demonise bats

December 22, 2017

Australian health authorities regularly issue public reminders not to touch bats because they can host Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV). This type of health education is necessary because it reduces human exposure to bat-borne ...

Multifunctional protein contributes to blood cell development

December 21, 2017

Like an actor who excels at both comedy and drama, proteins also can play multiple roles. Uncovering these varied talents can teach researchers more about the inner workings of cells. It also can yield new discoveries about ...

Recommended for you

Lifting barriers to citizenship for low-income immigrants

January 15, 2018

Taking the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony is an emotional moment for many immigrants, and for good reason: it is the culmination of an often arduous process and many years of striving. Citizenship also opens ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.