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Study shows more genes are controlled by biological clocks
Date:8/29/2008

The tick-tock of your biological clock may have just gotten a little louder.

Researchers at the University of Georgia report that the number of genes under control of in living things than suspected only a few years ago. The biological clock in a much-studied model organism is dramatically higher than previously reported. The new study implies that the clock may be much more important

"This new finding may help to explain why the clock is so far-reaching in its effects on the organism," said Jonathan Arnold, a professor in the UGA department of genetics and director of the research project. "We found that some 25 percent of the genes in our model organism appear to be under clock control. I wasn't suspecting anything remotely like that."

The new research, just published in the Public Library of Science One, also shows how Arnold's team used a new methodology called Computing Life to yield these new discoveries about biological clocks. And this tool of systems biology was the key to showing what makes a biological clock tick.

In addition to Arnold, authors of the paper include Wubei Dong, James Griffith, Roger Nielsen and Rosemary Kim in the department of genetics, and Xiaojia Tang, Yihai Yu and Bernd Schuttler of the department of physics and astronomy. Griffith also has an appointment in the College of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences. The department of genetics is in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The team's new discoveries about the extent of genes under the control of the biological clock and the utility of Computing Life came from studying genes in Neurospora crassabread mold. In fact, much of what science knows about biological clocks has come from studying Neurospora.

Before the current research, only 16 clock-controlled genes had been discovered in Neurospora in more than 40 years of research. Arnold's team uncovered a remarkable 295 genes that are influenced by the biological c
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Contact: Phil Williams
phil@franklin.uga.edu
706-542-8501
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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