Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 139, Issue 2, pp 121–125 | Cite as

Circadian complexes: Circadian rhythms under common gene control

  • Bernard Possidente
  • Joseph P. Hegmann


Circadian rhythms for food and water consumption were measured in five inbred strains of mice under a photoperiod of 16 h light and 8 h dark (16:8 LD), and under constant light (LL).

Significant strain differences were observed which indicate that a common gene difference, or set of differences inMus musculus influences both the phase angle (ψ) associating the rhythms with the light-dark cycle, and the periods (τLL) of circadian rhythms for food and water consumption. The biological clock mechanism influenced by this genetic variance is common to both food and water circadian rhythms, and differs among the five inbred strains. A positive genetic correlation was observed between the phase angle (ψ) and the period (τLL) of each rhythm. This observation can be understood in terms of a functional relationship between phase and period proposed by Pittendrigh and Daan (1976b) for the entrainment of a circadian oscillator by a light-dark cycle in nocturnal rodents.

These results suggest that circadian rhythms for food and water consumption in mice are regulated by a common physiological mechanism, and would respond to natural selection as a single “circadian complex” under common gene control.


Circadian Rhythm Phase Angle Water Consumption Functional Relationship Genetic Correlation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Possidente
    • 1
  • Joseph P. Hegmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Genetics Ph.D. Program and Department of ZoologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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