Three US scientists receive Nobel Prize in Medicine for researching the internal clock
This year's Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to three American researchers. Scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young are recognized for their work on the function and control of the internal clock.
Nobel Prize in Medicine for three Americans
As announced by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on Monday, the Nobel Prize in Medicine this year goes to the three Americans Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young for work on the function and control of the internal clock. "Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm in such a way that it corresponds to the day-night rhythm of the earth," says a message from the institute.
Adapt to the rhythm of the day
“Life on Earth is adapted to the rotation of our planet. We have known for many years that living organisms, including humans, have an internal, biological clock that helps them adapt to the regular rhythm of the day, ”writes the Swedish institute.
"But how does this clock actually work?" The three researchers took a big step closer to answering this question. They "were able to take a look inside our biological clock and illuminate how it works".
With the help of fruit flies as a model organism, this year's Nobel Prize winners isolated a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm.
They showed that this gene encodes a protein that accumulates in the cell at night and is then broken down during the day.
They then identified additional protein components and revealed the mechanism that regulates the clockwork in the cell.
Important function of the internal clock
It is known that our internal clock adapts to the different phases of the day. It regulates functions such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism.
When there is a temporary mismatch between our external environment and this internal biological clock, for example when we travel across multiple time zones and experience "jet lag", our well-being is affected.
There is also evidence that a chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and the rhythm dictated by our inner timekeeper is associated with an increased risk of various diseases.
Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded for over 100 years
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded annually by the Karolinska Institute's Nobel Assembly in Stockholm since 1901.
Last year, the Japanese Yoshinori Ohsumi received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for deciphering the autophagy mechanism.
The previous year, the award went to three researchers from three different countries.
The last time a German was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine was in 2013 the cell scientist Thomas Südhof, born in Göttingen. (ad)