Texas A&M University biologist Christine Merlin studies Monarch butterflies to learn more about animal migration, the role of circadian clocks in regulating daily and seasonal animal physiology and behavior, and the evolution of the animal clockwork.

Texas A&M Biologists Find Genetic Evidence for Clock Control and Vitamin A Regulation of Seasonal Responses in Monarchs

Nov 26, 2019
"While much remains to be learned, these findings pave the way for understanding the mechanisms by which vitamin A operates in the brain to translate day length encoding into seasonal physiological and behavioral responses in animals. Given that seasonal changes associated with this pathway have also been reported in the mammalian brain, it is tantalizing to speculate that the function of vitamin A in animal photoperiodism may be evolutionary conserved. If this turns out to be the case, our work in the Monarch could have implications for better understanding seasonal changes in the human brain that could lead to ailments such as seasonal depression."
Dr. Christine Merlin, Texas A&M biologist