The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet is awarding the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to three researchers for their study of the biological clock.
The three researchers that are being awarded the Nobel Prize are Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young. These researchers focused their study on the biological clock that is present in living organisms.
The work that led to the researchers being awarded the Nobel Prize focused on the Period gene. This gene was undiscovered until the 1970s when a researchers determined its existence and named it the Period gene. However, this research didn’t explain exactly how the gene works.
The research conducted by Hall, Rosbash and Young determined how the Period gene works. They found that the gene accumulates a protein called PER during the night and that it degrades during the day.
Their research discovered that the accumulation and degradation of PER occurs in time with the circadian rhythm. There’s a little more to the whole process than just that, but this is basically what determines how a biological clock works.
“A large proportion of our genes are regulated by the biological clock and, consequently, a carefully calibrated circadian rhythm adapts our physiology to the different phases of the day,” the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet said in a statement. “Since the seminal discoveries by the three laureates, circadian biology has developed into a vast and highly dynamic research field, with implications for our health and wellbeing.”
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