The genetics of mammalian circadian order and disorder: implications for physiology and disease

Nat Rev Genet. 2008 Oct;9(10):764-75. doi: 10.1038/nrg2430.


Circadian cycles affect a variety of physiological processes, and disruptions of normal circadian biology therefore have the potential to influence a range of disease-related pathways. The genetic basis of circadian rhythms is well studied in model organisms and, more recently, studies of the genetic basis of circadian disorders has confirmed the conservation of key players in circadian biology from invertebrates to humans. In addition, important advances have been made in understanding how these molecules influence physiological functions in tissues throughout the body. Together, these studies set the scene for applying our knowledge of circadian biology to the understanding and treatment of a range of human diseases, including cancer and metabolic and behavioural disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / genetics
  • Brain / physiology
  • Chronobiology Disorders / complications
  • Chronobiology Disorders / genetics*
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Disease / etiology*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy / methods
  • Feedback, Physiological / genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Mood Disorders / etiology
  • Mood Disorders / genetics
  • Organ Specificity / genetics