A new cell-based, genome-wide study has identified a cluster of micro RNAs (miRNAs)—noncoding RNA molecules about 22 nucleotides long—that constitute a new layer of modulation for clock genes responsible for circadian rhythms. Until now, most studies probing regulatory mechanisms of daily biological rhythms have focused on feedback loops that regulate protein-coding genes.

Regulation of circadian rhythms is key, not only in understanding sleep, but also diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. Understanding how miRNAs regulate the circadian clock in different tissues and organs could reveal new therapeutic approaches.

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