Meet Drosophila melanogaster - the common fruit fly
Researchers form University College London are studying the ‘body clock’ of these common crawlies,to help overcome the negative impacts of desynchronised body clocks in humans - caused by shift work, ageing, or mutation of clock genes.
Life on our planet is embedded in the daily rhythms of light/dark and temperature changes caused by the earths’ rotation. Our internal circadian clock, often referred to as the ‘body clock’, creates the internal rhythm which tells our bodies when to sleep and regulates many other physiological processes. The clock enables us to anticipate environmental changes and adapt our physiology and behaviour to the local time in our external world. This synchronization between internal and external time is important for the fitness and well-being of all organisms, ranging from bacteria to humans.
BBSRC-funded Ralf Stanewsky and his team study the genetic, molecular, and neuronal mechanisms of how these environmental signals – such as daily light and temperature changes – affect the circadian clock of the fruit fly.They hope to identify general principles of circadian clock synchronization, so that these features can be adapted and used to protect against adverse health linked to disrupted body clocks.
Image from Ralf Stanewsky at University College London
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