Genetics: Circadian Rhythms and Racehorse Performance

Though we might not be conscious of it, our bodies operate in accordance with the daily rhythms of an internal biological clock. Linked with the light-dark cycles of the day, this inner clock governs cyclical fluctuations in the physiological activity of our various organs and body tissues, generating daily patterns of hormone production, body temperature, cell regeneration and other biological activities. The influence of exercise on the functioning of the body's internal clock and the role it plays in athletic performance has been the subject of ongoing research in people for some time. Now, as equine researchers begin to uncover how circadian rhythms operate in the horse, these sorts of insights may help inform strategies for improving performance at the track. The master clock Circadian rhythms are self-sustained 24-hour cycles in various aspects of an animal's physiology, says Dr. Barbara Murphy, a researcher at University College Dublin, Ireland, who has…

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