Circadian clocks are endogenous oscillators that control 24-hour physiological and behavioural processes in organisms. These cell-autonomous clocks are composed of a transcription-translation-based autoregulatory feedback loop. With the development of next-generation sequencing approaches, biochemical and genomic insights into circadian function have recently come into focus. Genome-wide analyses of the clock transcriptional feedback loop have revealed a global circadian regulation of processes such as transcription factor occupancy, RNA polymerase II recruitment and initiation, nascent transcription, and chromatin remodelling. The genomic targets of circadian clocks are pervasive and are intimately linked to the regulation of metabolism, cell growth and physiology.