In a search for genes that regulate circadian rhythms in mammals, the progeny of mice treated with N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) were screened for circadian clock mutations. A semidominant mutation, Clock, that lengthens circadian period and abolishes persistence of rhythmicity was identified. Clock segregated as a single gene that mapped to the midportion of mouse chromosome 5, a region syntenic to human chromosome 4. The power of ENU mutagenesis combined with the ability to clone murine genes by map position provides a generally applicable approach to study complex behavior in mammals.
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