Latitudinal clines: an evolutionary view on biological rhythms

Proc Biol Sci. 2013 Jul 3;280(1765):20130433. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0433. Print 2013 Aug 22.


Properties of the circadian and annual timing systems are expected to vary systematically with latitude on the basis of different annual light and temperature patterns at higher latitudes, creating specific selection pressures. We review literature with respect to latitudinal clines in circadian phenotypes as well as in polymorphisms of circadian clock genes and their possible association with annual timing. The use of latitudinal (and altitudinal) clines in identifying selective forces acting on biological rhythms is discussed, and we evaluate how these studies can reveal novel molecular and physiological components of these rhythms.

Keywords: circadian; circannual; diapause; latitude; photoperiod; reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Altitude*
  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks* / genetics
  • Biological Clocks* / physiology
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Circadian Clocks* / genetics
  • Circadian Clocks* / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Insecta / physiology
  • Photoperiod
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Seasons
  • Vertebrates / genetics
  • Vertebrates / physiology