Body clock scientists win the Nobel Prize

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Three scientists who have elucidated how our bodies say the time they have won the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

The biological clock or circadian rhythm is the reason you want to sleep at night, but also drives major changes in the behavior and function of the body.

Us scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young will share the prize.

The Nobel prize committee, said that their findings “major implications for our health and well-being”.

A clock ticks in almost every cell in the human body, as well as in plants, animals and fungi.

Our mood, levels of hormones, body temperature and the metabolism of all fluctuate in a daily rhythm.

Even our risk of a heart attack rises in the morning, when our body starts the motor to begin a new day.

The body clock so precisely controls our body to match the day and the night that the disruption can have profound implications.

The horrible experience of jet lag is caused by the body being out of sync with the world around him.

In the short term, body clock disruption affects memory formation, but in the long term increases the risk of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“If we screw that the security system that have a great impact on our metabolism,” said Professor Russell Foster, a body clock scientist at the University of Oxford.

He told the BBC that he was “very pleased” that the US trio had won, saying she deserved the prize for being the first to explain how the system worked.

He added: “They have shown us how the molecular clocks are built throughout the animal kingdom.”


The trio of developments were in the fruit flies, but their results explain how “molecular feedback loops” to keep the time in all animals.

Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash isolated from a section of DNA called the period gene, which is involved in the circadian rhythm.

The period of genes contained instructions for making a protein called PER. As the levels of wholesale, off their own genetic instructions.

As a result, the protein levels oscillate over a 24-hour cycle – rising during the night and fall during the day.

Michael Young discovered a gene called timeless , and the other is called doubletime. Both affect the stability of PER.

If that is more stable, then the clock is ticking more slowly, if it is less stable, then it runs too fast. The stability of EACH one of the reasons is that some of us are morning larks and others are night owls.

Together, they had discovered the functioning of the molecular clock in the inside of the fly of the cells.

The dr. Michael Hastings, who researches circadian timing in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, told the BBC: “Prior to this work in fruit flies that don’t really have any idea of the mechanism – genetic body clocks were viewed as a black box, on par with astrology.”

He said the award was a “fantastic” decision.

He added: “We found the body clock, when the experience of jet lag and we appreciate it is debilitating for a short time, but the real problem of public health is rotational shift work – is a constant state of jet lag.”

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Previous winners

2016 – Yoshinori Ohsumi for discovering how cells stay healthy by recycling the waste.

2015 – William C Campbell, Satoshi ÅŒmura and Youyou Your anti-parasite drug discoveries.

2014 – John O’keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser for discovering the brain’s navigation system.

2013 – James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Sudhof for their discovery of how cells precisely transport material.

2012 – Two pioneers of stem cell research – John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka – were awarded the Nobel after changing adult cells into stem cells.

2011 – Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman shared the award after revolutionizing the understanding of how the body fights the infection.

2010 – Robert Edwards for the development of fertility IVF treatment that led to the first “test tube baby” in July 1978.

2009 – Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for the search of the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes.