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What is a circadian clock?

A circadian clock is an internal biological clock that is found in almost all organisms, which regulates many metabolic processes. This biological clock allows organisms to adjust physiologically to changes in the environment. It is also influential in an organism’s behavior based on environmental differences.

What do circadian clocks regulate?

In plants, circadian clocks control flowering, response to seasons, and photosynthesis such as the opening and closing of the stomata.

In mammals, circadian clocks manage sleeping, waking, feeding, and controlling whether an animal is nocturnal (most active at night) or diurnal (most active during the day).

In cyanobacteria, circadian clocks regulate nitrogen fixation.

In general, circadian clocks direct cell replication, amino acid uptake, and carbohydrate synthesis.

Why are circadian clocks important?

Circadian clocks are an integral part of everyday life for most all organisms on Earth. They regulate the most important functions in each organism. Without these biological clocks, processes such as metabolism would be completely disorganized and all of our bodies would go entirely awry. Life as we know it today would not exist in the regular predictable pattern.



University of Arizona
Biology 181H Group 03
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