Tick . . . Tick . . . Squeak

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CHICAGO: Scientists have located the gene that governs the body's inner clock -- at least in mice. Resarchers, according to the journal Cell, believe that the discovery of the so-called "clock gene" in laboratory mice, with its 100,000 bits of information on sleep patterns, mood swings and hormone levels, is an important step towards isolating a parallel gene in humans. This could allow scientists to zero in on the causes of diseases such as insomnia and depression that are related to disturbances in circadian rhythms. It may also help explain why medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease worsen at certain hours. To do so, scientists must isolate ten more genes related to bodily rhythms. Maybe even in humans.