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Key Link to Biological Clock Found

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Oct 17, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- University of Illinois researchers have found a key link to the biological clock that regulates daily body functions.

The scientists discovered that a protein called Timeless is right on time in helping mammalian brains function. The protein was known for its work in the circadian clocks of fruit flies and other organisms but was not thought to be part of biological clocks in mammals.

The discovery could lead to relief for jet lag and sleep disorders and a better understanding of the regulation of many of the body's functions, including blood pressure, body temperature, metabolism, reproduction and hormone release, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said. The study appeared Friday in the journal Science.

Rearchers found the mammalian version of Timeless in 1998, and several groups went to work to determine if the protein worked the same way in mammals, such as rats and humans, as it does in flies. Martha Gillette's group showed that the protein follows cycles.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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