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Lost in clocks: non-canonical circadian oscillation discovered in Drosophila cells

In most organisms, cell-autonomous circadian clocks are driven by a transcription–translation negative feedback loop (TTFL). Per was the first identified clock gene in the fruit fly and is a core component of the circadian TTFL. Surprisingly, in their recent study, Rey et al (2018) demonstrate the presence of apparent circadian rhythmicity in a fly cell line that does not express several core clock genes including per (Rey et al, 2018). Quantitative multi-omics measurements allowed the identification of unknown oscillating components and revealed hundreds of transcripts, proteins, and metabolites showing 24-h rhythmicity, suggesting that at least in the fly, the circadian clock may be driven by non-canonical (i.e., independent of per-driven TTFL) molecular mechanisms.

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