Can a blood test find your body’s internal clock

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Image credit: Jonny Wan

Your body has a clock—and thanks to the travails of modern life, that clock may not line up with the timing of the outside world. These circadian rhythms drive physical processes both big and small and can influence everything from how well we think to how—and when—we gain weight.

[Rosemary] Braun is the first author on a new paper outlining a process that takes just two blood samples and then uses an algorithm called TimeSignature to figure out what time it is inside the body. The process is the most straightforward test yet developed.

According to the research, the algorithm works regardless of whether the patient is sick or well. That’s significant because gene expression—the way your genes activate, prompting the production of chemicals and helping your body to function—is changed by things as simple as how much sleep you get.

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The researchers found something unexpected—the genes that are the best predictors of body clock aren’t all “what we could call the core clock genes,” Braun says. “A lot of them are genes that are related to other biological processes, but they’re regulated by the clock. They’re regulated so tightly by the clock that observing them becomes a good marker for the clock itself.”

Read full, original post: This new blood test can figure out what time it is inside your cells

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