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Data from: Normal vision can compensate for the loss of the circadian clock.


Schlichting, Matthias; Menegazzi, Pamela; Helfrich-Förster, Charlotte (2015), Data from: Normal vision can compensate for the loss of the circadian clock., Dryad, Dataset,


Circadian clocks are thought to be essential for timing the daily activity of animals, and consequently increase fitness. This view was recently challenged for clock-less fruit flies and mice that exhibited astonishingly normal activity rhythms under outdoor conditions. Compensatory mechanisms appear to enable even clock mutants to live a normal life in nature. Here, we show that gradual daily increases/decreases of light in the laboratory suffice to provoke normally timed sharp morning (M) and evening (E) activity peaks in clock-less flies. We also show that the compound eyes, but not Cryptochrome (CRY), mediate the precise timing of M and E peaks under natural-like conditions, as CRY-less flies do and eyeless flies do not show these sharp peaks independently of a functional clock. Nevertheless, the circadian clock appears critical for anticipating dusk, as well as for inhibiting sharp activity peaks during midnight. Clock-less flies only increase E activity after dusk and not before the beginning of dusk, and respond strongly to twilight exposure in the middle of the night. Furthermore, the circadian clock responds to natural-like light cycles, by slightly broadening Timeless (TIM) abundance in the clock neurons, and this effect is mediated by CRY.

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