Chronobiology: Biological Timekeeping. Jay C. Dunlap, Jennifer J. Loros, and Patricia J. DeCoursey, eds.

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Chronobiology: Biological Timekeeping. Jay C. Dunlap, Jennifer J. Loros, and Patricia J. DeCoursey, eds. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Chronobiology is a fascinating field that deals with biological rhythms from their molecular and cellular basis to their impact on the behavior and physiology of whole organisms.

For many years, this field has deserved a comprehensive text which examines the impressive progress in the understanding of the timekeeping mechanisms. However, this very progress deterred many scientists from the task of writing a book; one could easily argue that any summary of a fast moving field will be outdated before its publication.

The book contains a delightful blend of historical background, current scientific discoveries, and their relevance for everyday-life.

An extensive introduction sets the stage for more detailed coverage of important topics such as the fundamental properties of circadian daily rhythms, circannual rhythms and photoperiodism, physiological and molecular aspects of circadian pacemaker systems and their output rhythms. The narrative form of headings and subheadings within each chapter provides an instant summary of the content, enabling a student to rapidly locate specific sections of interest.

Abundant examples of animals with unique life histories make this book a fascinating read for any biologist. Resulting from its broad scope, the book provides somewhat limited detail with regard to molecular basis of the clock function in model organisms; only 3 pages are dedicated to the core clock mechanism in Drosophila.

The final two chapters of the book discuss human circadian organization and the relevance of circadian rhythms for human welfare.

Readers are made aware that ignoring our circadian clocks may have dangerous consequences. This reviewer actually became a data point in statistics showing high accident rates at nighttime by ending up in a roadside ditch at 4 AM while driving into the airport to catch an early flight! The book promotes awareness that human disregard for physiological needs, especially rest and sleep, leads to both small and large-scale disasters, such as the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

This superbly edited, richly illustrated book would be properly employed as a textbook for courses focused on chronobiology. Because biological rhythms can be found in all kinds of species, the book also serves as a non-technical primer for scientists and general students of ecology, physiology, neuroscience, or psychology. Finally, the book is a great resource for scientists chipping away at the particular aspects of clock mechanism who may want to take a step back and gain a broader chronobiological perspective.

In summary, this fascinating synthesis of the field should find a wide audience and become a useful resource on biological timing for many years to come.

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Chronobiology: Biological Timekeeping

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Chronobiology: biological timekeeping

JAY C. He has co-edited 16 books in genetics and published over articles on the genetics and the molecular biology of circadian systems. She serves as Associate Editor for the journal Genetics and is on the advisory board for the Journal of Biological Rhythms. Chronobiology : Biological Timekeeping. Jay C. Dunlap , Jennifer J.


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