In the 1970s, scientists identified the part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms — the 24-hour processes that regulate our sleep and wake cycles and key body functions like hormone production, metabolism and blood pressure. But it has taken until now to identify precisely which cells in the master clock drive the underlying timekeeping.

In a new study published in the journal Neuron, researchers from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas describe how they identified key cells within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) that are critical for determining circadian rhythms.

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