Stockholm – The Nobel Assembly at – Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. The decision was made to recognize their efforts for the discovery of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.
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Life on earth is adapted to the rotation of the solar system. For years now, scientists have believed that our body has some biological clock that responds to the rhythm of movements of our earth. In 18th century, the astronomer Jean Jacques d’Ortous – while studying mimosa plants – found that the leaves of plant works according to a clock, the leaves of the plants would open towards sun during daytime and closed at dust.
Further research on the subject proved that not only plants, but also animals and humans, operate through a biological clock. Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young took the research further and were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings.
Using fruit flies as a model organism, this year’s Nobel laureates isolated a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm. Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.
This discovery of a gene which controls the biological clock is considered as a huge in the field of medicine.