1997 marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the master circadian pacemaker in mammals in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus. Remarkable progress has been made over the last 25 years in elucidating the physiological mechanisms involved in the entrainment, generation and expression of circadian rhythms at the cellular and systems levels. The recent discovery and cloning of the first mammalian clock gene is expected to lead to rapid advances in the understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythmicity in mammals. Indeed, the impressive and extensive database on circadian rhythms in mammals obtained over the past 25 years provides a foundation for making rapid progress in utilizing future genetic and molecular findings for discovering the fundamental mechanisms controlling 24-hour temporal organization.

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