Siberian Hamsters Show What Helps Make Seasonal Clocks Tick

Author: 
Greg Borzo
Photo Credit: 
Cpdlab

Many animals, including humans, have internal clocks and calendars to help them regulate behavior, physiological functions and biological processes. Although scientists have extensively studied the timekeeping mechanisms that inform daily functions (circadian rhythms), they know very little about the timekeeping mechanisms that inform seasonal functions.

New research to be published this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows, for the first time, that this measurement of seasonal time has an epigenetic component. Epigenetics refers to an alteration in gene expression that occurs without a change in the sequence of DNA molecules.

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