3 Americans win Nobel medicine prize for circadian rhythms
They "were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings," the
The work was done using fruit flies as model organisms.
"I am very pleased for the fruit fly," Rosbash, a 73-year-old professor at
"When the landline rings at that hour, normally it is because someone died," he said. ""I'm still a little overwhelmed."
But he added "I stand on the shoulders of giants. This is a very humbling award."
Young is at
The winners have raised "awareness of the importance of a proper sleep hygiene" said
"Until then, the body clock was viewed as a sort of black box," 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, you 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 the AP.
The awardees' work stems back to 1984, when Rosbash and Hall, who was then also at Brandeis, along with Young isolated the "period gene" in fruit flies. Hall and Rosbash found that a protein encoded by the gene accumulated during the night and degraded during daytime. A decade later, Young discovered another "clock gene."
"The paradigm-shifting discoveries by the laureates established key mechanisms for the biological clock," the
"Our wellbeing is affected when there is a temporary mismatch between our external environment and this internal biological clock, for example when we travel across several time zones and experience 'jet lag,'" the statement said. "There are also indications that chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and the rhythm dictated by our inner time keeper is associated with increased risk for various diseases."
That misalignment may be associated with diseases including cancer and degenerative neurological conditions.
"Circadian dysfunction has been linked to sleep disorders, as well as depression, bipolar disorder, cognitive function, memory formation and some neurological diseases," a
Frank Jordans in
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