The misery of jet lag could be put to bed forever after Harvard University discovered how to transplant a body clock.
Although it might sound the stuff of science fiction, biological engineers in the US have shown they can transfer circadian rhythms into an organism that has no internal body clock.
E.coli bacteria are usually completely unaffected by the time of day, or how much light is present. But after scientists transplanted the "body clock circuitry" from bacteria that have circadian rhythms, the E.coli started to function on a 24-hour cycle.
Scientists are hopeful that a probiotic pill containing the genetically modified bacteria could cause the human body to reset its body clock, curing jet lag.
"The ultimate dream application would be to deliver these circadian E. coli to an individual in pill form, which could allow the circadian rhythm to be linked to additional biological circuits in order to perform a precisely timed release of drugs, or to be able to sense and influence the host's circadian rhythm," said the study's author, Anna Chen, a systems biology graduate student at the Wyss Institute and Harvard Medical School.
Circadian rhythms, which are governed by light and darkness, control which parts of the body are active at various times of day. When they are out of sync, such as when travelling between time zones, it can cause fatigue, nausea and digestion problems, otherwise known as jet lag.
People chronically out of sync with day and night are more likely to develop cancer, heart disease and obesity.