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      Circadian rhythms and reproduction.

      Reproduction (Cambridge, England)

      Animals, Biological Clocks, genetics, CLOCK Proteins, Circadian Rhythm, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Infertility, etiology, metabolism, Male, Mammals, physiology, Polymorphism, Genetic, Pregnancy, Reproduction, Suprachiasmatic Nucleus, Trans-Activators

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          There is a growing recognition that the circadian timing system, in particular recently discovered clock genes, plays a major role in a wide range of physiological systems. Microarray studies, for example, have shown that the expression of hundreds of genes changes many fold in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, liver heart and kidney. In this review, we discuss the role of circadian rhythmicity in the control of reproductive function in animals and humans. Circadian rhythms and clock genes appear to be involved in optimal reproductive performance, but there are sufficient redundancies in their function that many of the knockout mice produced do not show overt reproductive failure. Furthermore, important strain differences have emerged from the studies especially between the various Clock (Circadian Locomotor Output Cycle Kaput) mutant strains. Nevertheless, there is emerging evidence that the primary clock genes, Clock and Bmal1 (Brain and Muscle ARNT-like protein 1, also known as Mop3), strongly influence reproductive competency. The extent to which the circadian timing system affects human reproductive performance is not known, in part, because many of the appropriate studies have not been done. With the role of Clock and Bmal1 in fertility becoming clearer, it may be time to pursue the effect of polymorphisms in these genes in relation to the various types of infertility in humans.

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