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Removing the clock gene BMAL1 makes bacteria-engulfing defence cells in the body more effective, a new study from the Radcliffe Department of Medicine has found.

This is the first time a clock gene has been found to affect resistance to bacterial pneumonia, a fatal disease responsible for 5% of all deaths in the UK each year. (The main image depicts a a computer-generated image of a group of Gram-positive, Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, one of the bacteria types that cause the disease. Image credit: CDC PHIL). 

Most living things have an internal body clock which regulates when they sleep and when they wake up. A complex set of genes turning on and off, make this body clock run over roughly 24 hours, and a gene known by the acronym BMAL1 is one of the master regulators of this clock, controlling many other body clock genes and pathways.

Read more (Radcliffe Department of Medicine)

This research is also featured in a The Conversation article.