03-10-2017 11:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Medicine Nobel for decoding body clock
Americans Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young have won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. They were awarded the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize 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.
The American trio was able to peek into the body’s biological clock and study how it worked which was a mystery until now. All living beings have a biological clock that attunes the functions of the body to the fluctuations of the day. This adaptation is called circadian rhythm and it influences sleep, behavior, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.
Juleen Zierath of the Nobel academy said that the winners have raised "awareness of the importance of a proper sleep hygiene." 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.
Mr. Rosbash and Mr. Hall 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. Later, Mr. Young discovered another "clock gene" that encoded the TIM protein that was required for a normal circadian rhythm.
The Nobel Assembly said in its prize statement that the paradigm-shifting discoveries by the laureates established key mechanisms for the biological clock.