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J Biol Rhythms. 2009 Oct;24(5):379-90. doi: 10.1177/0748730409341523.

The clock gene period plays an essential role in photoperiodic control of nymphal development in the cricket Modicogryllus siamensis.

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Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan.


Photoperiodic regulation of development is a common strategy for insects in the temperate zone to adapt to the seasonally changing environment. Although the circadian clock is generally thought to be involved, the underlying time measurement mechanism is still elusive. Here, we demonstrate that the circadian clock gene period (per) plays an essential role in the photoperiodic regulation of nymphal development in the cricket Modicogryllus siamensis. Nymphal development of this cricket depends on photoperiods, being accelerated by long days and slowed down by short days. We examined the role of per in the nymphal photoperiodic response as well as circadian rhythm generation using parental RNA interference (pRNAi). per mRNA levels in nymphal heads showed a rhythmic expression with the pattern dependent on photoperiods, and pRNAi significantly suppressed the per mRNA level with no significant rhythmicity in the early nymphal stage. Irrespective of photoperiods, nymphs treated with per pRNAi showed adult emergence patterns neither of intact nymphs nor of DsRed2 pRNAi nymphs kept under long days or under short days but similar to those kept under constant dark conditions. Most per pRNAi adults showed arrhythmic or aberrant circadian locomotor activity. These results suggest that the photoperiodic time measurement requires the normal circadian clock that is controlled by the per gene.

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