Medicine Nobel Prize focuses on body clock studies

Nobel ceremony
This year’s Nobel laureates for medicine or physiology — Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young — are highlighted on the big screen during the prize announcement. (Nobel Prize via YouTube)

The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine was awarded today for research into biological clocks that was conducted by three American researchers — including Jeffrey Hall, who received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Washington back in 1971.

Hall will share the $1.1 million prize with Michael Rosbash, a collaborator of his at Brandeis University; and Rockefeller University’s Michael Young.

The three biologists studied fruit flies to trace the genetic “inner workings” of circadian rhythm, the mechanism that regulates sleep, metabolism and other bodily functions in the course of a day, the Swedish-based Nobel committee said.

“Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions,” the committee said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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