Endocrine gland in the brain that produces melatonin. It is large in children and begins to shrink at puberty. The gland may play a significant role in sexual maturation, circadian rhythm and sleep induction, and seasonal affective disorder and depression. In animals it is known to play a major role in sexual development, hibernation, and seasonal breeding.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on pineal gland, visit Britannica.com.
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