Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Insect Physiol. 2011 May;57(5):557-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Deciphering time measurement: the role of circadian 'clock' genes and formal experimentation in insect photoperiodism.

Author information

University of Edinburgh, UK.


This review examines possible role(s) of circadian 'clock' genes in insect photoperiodism against a background of many decades of formal experimentation and model building. Since ovarian diapause in the genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster has proved to be weak and variable, recent attention has been directed to species with more robust photoperiodic responses. However, no obvious consensus on the problem of time measurement in insect photoperiodism has yet to emerge and a variety of mechanisms are indicated. In some species, expression patterns of clock genes and formal experiments based on the canonical properties of the circadian system have suggested that a damped oscillator version of Pittendrigh's external coincidence model is appropriate to explain the measurement of seasonal changes in night length. In other species extreme dampening of constituent oscillators may give rise to apparently hourglass-like photoperiodic responses, and in still others there is evidence for dual oscillator (dawn and dusk) photoperiodic mechanisms of the internal coincidence type. Although the exact role of circadian rhythmicity and of clock genes in photoperiodism is yet to be settled, Bünning's general hypothesis (Bünning, 1936) remains the most persuasive unifying principle. Observed differences between photoperiodic clocks may be reflections of underlying differences in the clock genes in their circadian feedback loops.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center