ClockNews#23: ShiftWork, Breast Cancer and Zebrafish (again)
12-hour shifts not good for body or soul
There arises a conflict between the biological imperativeBreast Cancer Mystery Frustrates Scientists
for sleep and the social demands for performance. This leads to one question:
"What happens to one's performance when one's sleep is deprived?"
Their theory that artificial light can cause breast cancerBiological clock lights up
is simple. Prolonged periods of exposure to artificial light disrupt the body's
circadian rhythms - the inner biological clocks honed over thousands of years of
evolution to regulate behaviors such as sleep and wakefulness. The disruption
affects levels of hormones such as melatonin and the workings of cellular
machinery, which can trigger the onset of cancer, Stevens theorizes.
With its relatively small genome and its ability to produce
mutations that are analogous to those in humans, the humble zebrafish already is
a valuable tool in genetics research. But it just got better: Researchers at the
University of Houston have developed a transgenic zebrafish that glows according
to its biological clock.