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How do they tick? Uni researches the animals' internal clock


Everyone carries them around with them - their inner clock. It influences various body functions and behaviors depending on the time of day or the season. The internal clock in animals is not so different from that of humans. Researchers at the University of Würzburg now want to investigate the animals' internal clock and find out what to do if the clock gets out of step. The animals' internal clock: is it really that late? - Photo: shutterstock / Eric Isselee

Many behaviors are not conscious decisions, but are controlled by the internal clock. It was clocked millions of years ago and fine-tuned more and more. If it gets out of sync, it has an impact on health - in the animal world, a missed hibernation can even endanger survival. Even if the consequences of a stopped clock differ, the internal clock ticks in principle similar to that of humans.

Researchers at the University of Würzburg therefore want to find out what makes animals tick - in order to derive recommendations for people: How can work performance be improved? How sleep? And how can digestion and the immune system be strengthened? However, research objects are neither hedgehogs that go into hibernation nor migratory birds who know when to move south. Instead, the Würzburg researchers are doing basic research into the fascinating world of insects on a budget of millions. They expose ants, bees and the like to changing daylight and simulated seasons to find out what happens when the little animals' internal clocks stop ticking and what effects this has on their sensory cells.

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