PerspectivePhysiology

Rhythms: The dark side meets the light

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Science  16 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6381, pp. 1210-1211
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat3211

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Summary

An internal biological rhythm, the circadian clock—which can be measured by changes in rhythmic gene expression, cellular activity, or physiological behavior—enables an organism to anticipate daily cyclic changes in the environment. For years, researchers have examined mammalian behavioral and physiological rhythms primarily in nocturnal species such as mice and rats; but in what ways are the genes, neural circuits, and rhythms of nocturnal animals related to those of humans, who (mostly) operate during the day? On page 1232 of this issue, Mure et al. (1) examine our close, evolutionarily related cousin—the wild olive baboon (Papio anubis) (see the photo)—to understand the internal clock of a diurnal primate, which has implications for understanding human biological rhythms and chronotherapy (treatment with drugs based on the time of day).