News of the WeekCircadian Rhythms

Mutant Gene Speeds Up the Human Clock

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Science  12 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5502, pp. 226-227
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5502.226B

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In a paper published online today by Science (, researchers identify a genetic mutation that causes people to be extreme early birds, rising, say, at 4:00 a.m. The discovery opens a window into the genetic basis of the human circadian clock, which keeps body activities such as sleeping and eating running on a roughly 24-hour rhythm.