Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Hormone synthesized by the pineal gland in many species of animal; its secretion increases during exposure to light. In adult amphibians, melatonin produces lightening of the dermal pigmentation by promoting aggregation of melanosomes. In mammals, it influences hormone production, and in many species it regulates seasonal changes such as reproductive pattern and fur color. In humans, it is implicated in the regulation of mood, sleep, puberty, and ovarian cycles.

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