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Biology LibreTexts


Cryptochromes are a class of flavoproteins that are sensitive to blue light. They are found in plants and animals. Cryptochromes are involved in the circadian rhythms of plants and animals, and in the sensing of magnetic fields in a number of species. The name cryptochrome was proposed as a portmanteau combining the cryptic nature of the photoreceptor, and the cryptogamic organisms on which many blue-light studies were carried out. The two genes Cry1 and Cry2 code for the two cryptochrome proteins CRY1 and CRY2.[2] In insects and plants, CRY1 regulates the circadian clock in a light-dependent fashion, whereas, in mammals, CRY1 and CRY2 act as light-independent inhibitors of CLOCK-BMAL1 components of the circadian clock. In plants, blue-light photoreception can be used to cue developmental signals.

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