Circadian clocks synchronize organisms to the 24 h rhythms of the environment. These clocks persist under constant conditions, have their origin at the cellular level, and produce an output of rhythmic mRNA expression affecting thousands of transcripts in many mammalian cell types. Here, we review the charting of circadian output rhythms in mRNA expression, focusing on mammals. We emphasize the challenges in statistics, interpretation, and quantitative descriptions that such investigations have faced and continue to face, and outline remaining outstanding questions.
Keywords: Biostatistics; Circadian; Post-transcriptional regulation; Systems biology; mRNA expression.