Nobel Prize for work on biological clocks 2017 Medicine
Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young awarded for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling our biological clocks
Three Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for their discoveries about the body’s daily rhythms, opening up whole new fields of research and raising awareness about the importance of getting proper sleep.
Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young won the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize for isolating a gene that controls the body’s normal daily biological rhythm. Circadian rhythms adapt the workings of the body to different phases of the day, influencing sleep, behavior, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.
They “were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings,” the Nobel citation said.
Mr. Rosbash is on the faculty at Brandeis University, Mr. Young is at Rockefeller University and Mr. Hall has been associated with the University of Maine.
The winners have raised “awareness of the importance of a proper sleep hygiene,” said Juleen Zierath of the Nobel academy.
Unraveled a new field of study
Michael Hastings, a scientist at the U.K. Medical Research Council, said the discoveries had opened up a whole new field of study for biology and medicine.
“Until then, the body clock was viewed as a sort of black box,” Mr. Hastings told The Associated Press. “We knew nothing about its operation. But what they did was get the genes that made the body clock, and once you’ve got the genes, we can take the field wherever you want to.”
“It’s a field that has exploded massively, propelled by the discoveries by these guys,” he told AP.
The awardees’ work stems back to 1984, when Mr. Rosbash and Mr. Hall, who was then also at Brandeis, along with Mr. Young isolated the “period gene” in fruit flies. Mr. Hall and Mr. Rosbash found that a protein encoded by the gene accumulated during the night and degraded during daytime. A decade later, Mr. Young discovered another “clock gene.”
By:- Dr. J.P. Juyal
Department of Chemistry
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College of Biomedical Sciences and Hospital