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Mail@liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在 www.liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在在在在在在在在在在,在在在在在在在在在在 Biological Clocks
Survival and successful reproduction usually require the activities of animals to be coordinated with predictable events around them. Consequently, the timing and rhythms of biological functions must closely match periodic events like the solar day, the tides, the lunar cycle, and the seasons. The relations between animal activity and these periods, particularly for the daily rhythms, have been of such interest and importance that a huge amount of work has been done on them and the special research field of chronobiology has emerged. Normally, the constantly changing levels of an animal's activity—sleeping, feeding, moving, reproducing, metabolizing, and producing enzymes and hormones, for example—are well coordinated with environmental rhythms, but the key question is whether the animal's schedule is driven by external cues, such as sunrise or sunset, or is instead dependent somehow on internal timers that themselves generate the observed biological rhythms. Almost universally, biologists accept the idea that all eukaryotes (a category that includes most organisms except bacteria and certain algae) have internal clocks. By isolating organisms completely from external periodic cues, biologists learned that organisms have internal clocks. For instance, apparently normal daily periods of biological activity were maintained for about a week by the fungus Neurospora when it was intentionally isolated from all geophysical timing cues while orbiting in a space shuttle. The continuation of biological rhythms in an organism without external cues attests to its having an internal clock.
When crayfish are kept continuously in the dark, even for four to five months, their compound eyes continue to adjust on a daily schedule for daytime and nighttime vision. Horseshoe crabs kept in the dark continuously for a year were found to maintain a persistent rhythm of brain activity that similarly adapts their eyes on a daily schedule for bright or for weak light. Like almost all daily cycles of animals deprived of environmental cues, those measured for the horseshoe crabs in these conditions were not exactly 24 hours. Such a rhythm whose period is approximately—but not exact...
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2013 for the course LANGUAGE 13DL208 taught by Professor Wang during the Fall '13 term at East China Normal University.
- Fall '13