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A molecule revealed to play a key role in our food clock

This is Science Today. The role of a key molecule in the body's ‘food clock' has been identified by a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Study leader Louis Ptacek explains that their discovery of a protein that's critical in resetting the body's food clock, gives researchers more insight into the molecular basis of this mechanism.

Ptacek:           Well, if we think of the food clock like our wristwatch, many of us don't know how the wristwatch works very well.  And it certainly is true, we don't know how the food clock works very well.  Now, if we begin to take our wristwatch apart and study the gears and understand how they fit together and how they are synchronized and set and reset, then we're in a stronger position to fix the wristwatch when it's broken or to adjust the wristwatch when the time is off a little bit. So, this is our first step toward understanding the gears in the food clock so that we may ultimately one day be able to adjust them more precisely.

Narrator:        And this may lead to a better understanding of diabetes and other metabolic syndromes. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.