How the Brain's Clock Gets Daily Enlightenment

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Science  08 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5557, pp. 955-957
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5557.955

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In a burst of papers published in the past 2 months, culminating with two in this week's issue of Science (pp. 1065 and 1070), researchers report their discovery of a new class of light-detecting retinal cells that send their signals to the brain's circadian clock; the cells also contain a molecule that may be the long-sought circadian photopigment. The papers, from five different labs, mesh seamlessly, clock researchers say. Indeed, the new work describes an entirely independent light-detection system in the mammalian eye.