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How the eye regulates your body clock

How the eye regulates your body clock: Ri Christmas Advent Calendar 2013 Chromosome 10 - 13 December 2013

BBSRC-funded researcher tell story of discovery in Royal Institution video.

This video was produced by the Royal Institution as part of their Ri Advent Calendar series on chromosomes, which is supported by BBSRC. Each day in December 2013, scientists reveal stories behind their favourite chromosomes.

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  How the eye regulates your body clock: Ri Christmas Advent Calendar 2013 Chromosome 10

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In this video, BBSRC-funded researcher Professor Russell Foster, head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, explains why chromosome 10 is his favourite – it's where the gene resides that encodes for special light receptors in the eye that govern the body's biological clock.

These receptors are different to the rods and cones that help us see, and his team discovered that they use a pigment called melanopsin to detect changes in daylength – the crucial mechanism by which our biological clocks are regulated. This, in turn, affects aspects of our daily lives from our moods to when we eat and how we sleep.

For more information, read a Q&A with Foster on his winning BBSRC's Social Innovator of the year 2012 where he expands upon the impacts of his discovery. An earlier feature article also has more on Foster's BBSRC-funded work, as do his articles in the press.

BBSRC-funded scientists also feature in other Ri videos in the series, such as Dr Fatmia Santos of the Babraham Institute in Chromosome 11. Watch the full series of Ri Advent Calendar chromosome videos.

The famous Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 20103 will feature BBSRC-funded biologist Alison Woollard, who will deliver a three-part series for entitled 'Life Fantastic' in early December, exploring the frontiers of developmental biology and the remarkable transformation of a single cell into a complex organism.

You can watch more videos on BBSRC's YouTube channel.