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Science 333 (6047): 1315-1319

Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Entrainment of a Population of Synthetic Genetic Oscillators

Octavio Mondragón-Palomino,1 Tal Danino,1 Jangir Selimkhanov,1,2 Lev Tsimring,2,3,* Jeff Hasty1,2,3,4,*,{dagger}

Abstract: Biological clocks are self-sustained oscillators that adjust their phase to the daily environmental cycles in a process known as entrainment. Molecular dissection and mathematical modeling of biological oscillators have progressed quite far, but quantitative insights on the entrainment of clocks are relatively sparse. We simultaneously tracked the phases of hundreds of synthetic genetic oscillators relative to a common external stimulus to map the entrainment regions predicted by a detailed model of the clock. Synthetic oscillators were frequency-locked in wide intervals of the external period and showed higher-order resonance. Computational simulations indicated that natural oscillators may contain a positive-feedback loop to robustly adapt to environmental cycles.

1 Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093–0412, USA.
2 San Diego Center for Systems Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093–0412, USA.
3 BioCircuits Institute, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093–0402, USA.
4 Molecular Biology Section, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093–0368, USA.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: hasty{at}

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