Biological clock: how does it work?

Intuitively, everyone knows what the biological clock is. Everyone feels the presence of that internal timer that tells them what time to sleep and what time to wake up and which determines various physiological changes during the day.

Although the concept as such is familiar to many, the discovery of the functioning of the biological clock is relatively recent. It was scientists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young, winners of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine, who unraveled that mystery.

Today not only is it known how the biological clock works, but it has also been ascertained alterations in it are a risk factor for the development of many diseases. It is also known that life on Earth moves in rhythm with these natural cycles.

What is a biological clock?

In general terms, The biological clock is an internal mechanism of living beings that allows them to orient themselves in time.. What it does, in a basic way, is order over time various organic activities such as sleeping, eating, etc.

The biological clock, like the conventional clock, works in cycles. This means that it develops continuous sequences that complete and start again. This is why, from time to time, we feel hungry again or sleepy, for example.

This watch is related to functions such as sleep regulation, hormone release, eating behavior and even blood pressure and body temperature. Scientists say it’s a sort of ‘molecular script’ possessed by all living organisms.

The background of the discovery

All life on Earth works in coordination with the rotation of the planet. Day and night are the fundamental parameters around which living beings move. As early as the 18th century, the astronomer Jean Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan noticed that there were functions in Plants which were carried out during the day and others, at night, whether or not they were exposed to light.

circadian rhythm
Metabolic processes and behavior are determined by the rotation of the Earth around its axis.

In the 1960s the biologist Franz Halberg spoke for the first time about circadian rhythms. to refer to those biological processes that took place in the 24 hours of the day. These basically slept at night and woke up during the day. However, it was not known what caused these cycles.

Geneticist Seymour Benzer and his disciple Ronald Konopka investigated the possibility that the biological clock mechanism was activated by genes. However, it was not until 1984 that researchers Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young were able to identify the genes and then they figured out how the whole mechanism worked.

How does the biological clock work?

The biological clock is a dance of genes in which, to put it simply, two of them predominate during the day, while the other two prevail at night. His action is completed by at least ten other geniuses. Together they regulate the body’s day and night processes.

He mechanism of action is as follows:

  • At the start of the day, the genes start to turn on clock AND cycle and the protein they produce builds up throughout the day.
  • When there is a large accumulation of these proteins, towards the beginning of the night, other genes called period AND time.
  • Throughout the night, the proteins generated by the genes period AND time they accumulate. This inhibits the production of clock AND cycle.
  • As gene proteins decrease clock AND cycle, the genes are turned off period AND timewhich require the accumulation of the former to activate.

Data to take into consideration

An organism works better and remains more stable if it works at the correct pace of the biological clock. This essentially means getting the right amount of sleep at night and being active during the day, eating at the most convenient times.

That internal timer works in both every cell and every organ in the body of living beings. The way the clock works in each individual determines a certain tendency to be more productive in certain periods.

Furthermore, The body’s response to external stimuli changes, depending on the weather. For example, it is known that the body reacts differently to a drug when taken during the day, in the afternoon or at night. This field is known as “chronopharmacology”.

The post Biological clock: how does it work? first appeared on research-school



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