Neurobiology and Genetics


    The circadian clock is thought to provide the internal time reference for measuring day length, allowing organisms to prepare in advance for the coming winter and summer. A new study sheds light on the neural link between the circadian clock and seasonal timing.


    During puberty our bodies undergo changes whereby a child's body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction. In some people, however, the onset of puberty is delayed and genetic analysis of this condition has provided insights into the hormonal mechanisms that control sexual maturation. Thus, in 2003 it was discovered that onset of puberty is triggered by the release of a hormone in the brain (a neurohormone) known as kisspeptin, which then exerts its effects by binding to a protein known as the kisspeptin receptor. But when did kisspeptin and its receptor originate in the evolutionary history of life on earth?