Circadian Rhythmicity

Regulation in the Time Domain
  • Joseph S. Takahashi
  • Michael Menaker


The control of rate and of temporal sequence is a major aspect of biological regulation. Inferences about causality are often made on the basis of experimentally determined temporal sequence with the unstated assumption that the underlying temporal processes are linear. Because many biological processes oscillate (especially those with feedback regulation), the assumption of linearity is likely to be false, and the causal connections based on it will often be wrong. When the underlying temporal organization is oscillatory, then processes can appear to occur after the events that they cause. In cases that involve synchronization of oscillations, the regulatory cycle often “phase lags” the oscillation that it controls (Pittendrigh, 1981b). This example is meant only to illustrate the importance of understanding temporal frameworks.


Circadian Rhythm Pineal Gland House Sparrow Optic Lobe Circadian System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph S. Takahashi
    • 1
  • Michael Menaker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurobiology and PhysiologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Institute of NeuroscienceUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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