It is the highest award for scientists: The three US scientists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young receive this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology. They are honored for exploring the inner clock. This helps not only humans but also animals and plants to control their lives on Earth.
All life on earth is adapted to the rotation of our planet, according to the press release of the Nobel Prize Committee. The discoveries of the three scientists explained how creatures synchronize their existence with the rotation of the earth. The scientists learned from a tiny creature that is extremely important to research: the fruit fly.
In a first step, they isolated a gene of insects that controls the day-night rhythm. The researchers discovered a protein that accumulates the flies’ cells during the night – and this disappears again during the day. They then discovered other components of this machinery. “Today, we know that biological clocks in organisms with multiple cells always work according to the same principles – even in humans”, says the press release.
The internal clock is extremely important for survival. She controls our behavior by making us tired in the evening and than we go to bed. In addition, it has an influence on the release of hormones, sleep, body temperature and metabolism. The fastest way to make sense is when the rhythm of a journey through the time zones gets out of the rhythm. Then the environment and the inner rhythm no longer fit together, there is a jet lag.
Often scientists are waiting for decades until their work is honored. But this time they can already look forward to high prize money: in the category medicine or physiology, the winner receives eight million Swedish crowns, which corresponds to currently more than 830.000 euros or 1.966.469,98 GHS.