, Volume 454, Issue 5, pp 857-867
Date: 17 Jan 2007

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day: circadian timekeeping in Drosophila


“Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day, and for once I’m inclined to believe Withnail is right. We are indeed drifting into the arena of the unwell... What we need is harmony. Fresh air. Stuff like that” “Bruce Robinson (1986, ref. 1)”. Although a stopped Drosophila clock probably does not tell the right time even once a day, recent findings have demonstrated that accurate circadian time-keeping is dependent on harmony between groups of clock neurons within the brain. Furthermore, when harmony between the environment and the endogenous clock is lost, as during jet lag, we definitely feel unwell. In this review, we provide an overview of the current understanding of circadian rhythms in Drosophila, focussing on recent discoveries that demonstrate how approximately 100 neurons within the Drosophila brain control the behaviour of the whole fly, and how these rhythms respond to the environment.