Biological clocks are genetically encoded oscillators that allow organisms to anticipate changes in the light–dark environment that are tied to the rotation of Earth. Clocks enhance fitness and growth in prokaryotes, and they are expressed throughout the central nervous system and peripheral tissues of multicelled organisms in which they influence sleep, arousal, feeding and metabolism. Biological clocks capture the imagination because of their tie to geophysical time, and tools are now in hand to analyse their function in health and disease at the cellular and molecular level.
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I wish to thank G. Barish, K. Moynihan Ramsey and the anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript, as well as D. Levine and B. Marcheva for their help with the figures. I also thank my fellow time travellers, R. Allada, J. Takahashi and F. Turek, for their collegiality and discussions. Work towards this manuscript was supported by grants from the NIH Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R01DK090625), and Heart, Lung and Blood (R01HL097817) Institutes, National Institute on Aging (P01AG011412), the Chicago Biomedical Consortium Searle Funds, the American Diabetes Association (1-09-RA-07), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (1-2008-114) and the University of Chicago Diabetes Research and Training Center (P60 DK020595).
J.B. is a member of the scientific advisory board of ReSet Therapeutics and has received support from Amylin Pharmaceuticals.
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Bass, J. Circadian topology of metabolism. Nature 491, 348–356 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11704
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