Circadian clocks organize neural processes, such as motor activities, into near 24-hour oscillations and adaptively synchronize these rhythms to the solar cycle. Recently, the first mammalian clock genes have been found. Unpredicted diversity in signaling pathways and clock-controlled gating of signals that modulate timekeeping has been discovered. A diffusible clock output has been found to control some behavioral rhythms. Consensus is emerging that circadian mechanisms are conserved across phylogeny, but that mammals have developed a great complexity of controls.
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