Nobel Prize for Medicine Awarded for Research on 'Biological Clocks'
The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine was awarded today for research into biological clocks that was conducted by three American researchers - including Jeffrey Hall, who received his Ph.D.in genetics from the University of Washington back in 1971. The human biological clock is the reason we want to sleep during the night.
Further research on the subject proved that not only plants, but also animals and humans, operate through a biological clock.
"The seminal discoveries by Hall, Rosbash and Young have revealed a crucial physiological mechanism explaining circadian adaptation, with important implications for human health and disease", the Nobel Prize organizers said in a statement. In 1984, the three Nobel prize-winning researchers succeeded in doing just that, with Hall and Rosbash isolating the period gene at Brandeis University and Young making his breakthrough at the Rockefeller University in NY.
Jeffrey C. Hall was born 1945 in New York, USA.
So wrote U.S. geneticist Michael Rosbash this year in a memoir titled 'A 50-Year Personal Journey: Location, Gene Expression, and Circadian Rhythms'. Subsequently, they identified additional protein components of this machinery, exposing the mechanism governing the self-sustaining clockwork inside the cell.
The award's cash prize, worth 8 million Swedish krona (nearly $979,000) will be shared by the Nobel laureates.
Hall and Robash then went on to discover that PER, the protein encoded by period, accumulated during the night and was degraded during the day. "I was woken up out of deep sleep and it was shocking", Rosbash, 73, told Reuters.
They showed that mutations in an unknown gene, which they named "period", disrupted the internal clock of flies - but little was known about how this actually worked in practise.
The Nobel prize announcements are made on the same day the awarding jury makes its decision from among the names recommended by the Nobel committees.
In 1994 Young discovered a second clock gene, which he named "timeless", that helps control the period gene's activity.
Focusing on the fruit fly, they discovered the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythm, the inner biological clock that regulates nearly all life on the planet.