Cyprus Mail
Americas Europe Tech & Science

‘Biological clock’ scientists win 2017 Nobel Medicine Prize

Juleen Zierath, Professor of Physiology, Anna Wedell, chairman Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine 2017, are seen during the announcement of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017, in Stockholm, Sweden

US-born scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling our biological clocks, the award-giving body said on Monday.

The mechanisms help explain issues such as why people travelling long distances over several time zones often suffer jet lag and they have wider implications for health such as increased risk for certain diseases.

“(The three scientists’) discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions,” the Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

The laureates used fruit flies to isolate a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm and showed how this gene encoded a protein that accumulates in the cell during the night and degrades during the day.

“The clock regulates critical functions such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism,” the Assembly said on awarding the prize of 9 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million).

Thomas Perlmann, secretary at the Karolinska Institute Nobel Committee, described the reaction of Rosbash when first informed of the award: “He was silent and then he said ‘you are kidding me’.”

Medicine is the first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year. The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.

Nobel medicine laureates have included scientific greats such as Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, and Karl Landsteiner, whose identification of separate blood types opened the way to carrying out safe transfusions.

The prize has not been without controversy, especially with the benefit of hindsight, such as with 1948 award for the discovery of DDT, a chemical that helped battle epidemics but was later banned due to its harmful environmental impact.



Related posts

Biden urges Congress to pass coronavirus package, promises more action

Reuters News Service

After 4.2 million Covid-19 cases in November, US pins hope on vaccine

Reuters News Service

Two killed, several injured by car in pedestrian zone in German town (updated)

Reuters News Service

Elderly Swedish woman accused of imprisoning son for decades

Reuters News Service

Brexit is still stuck while Gove admits no-deal is a distinct possibility

Reuters News Service

Pinterest moving towards online events feature

Kyriacos Nicolaou