Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Internal Clock: In Your Blood, Not Your Head, Study Finds

Japanese researchers have discovered a molecular signature in blood that can tell time according to a person's internal body clock.

InkFish blogger Elizabeth Preston notes the discovery, which was published in PNAS this week by a team from the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan.

The researchers compiled a group of metabolites that allowed them to distinguish whether a person's internal clock is synched with the outside world or not, and how much they differ. The team discovered and tested the signature in a small team of severely jet-lagged (and presumably grumpy) volunteers.

Preston writes that using the new molecular timetable, the Japanese team found that "any pair of blood samples taken 12 hours apart could accurately tell their subjects' body time to within 2 or 3 hours."

According to Preston, this molecular time-taking method could help researchers understand not only how jet-lag and other environment influences can foul the internal clock, but also what she says are "whole families" of pesky genetic early risers.

She points out that if the group can develop their work into a clinical blood test, doctors could use measurements of patient's internal time to more easily diagnose inherited or other sleep disorders or even tailor chemotherapy and other drug treatments to an individual's body clock.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.