U.S. geneticists Hall, left, Rosbash and Young during a lecture at Shaw College of the CUHK in Hong Kong.
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Three Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Monday for their discoveries about the body's biological clock, opening up whole new fields of research and raising awareness about the importance of getting enough sleep. Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young won the 9 million kronor ($1.1 million) prize for their work on finding genetic mechanisms behind circadian rhythms, which adapt the workings of the body to different phases of the day, influencing sleep, behavior, hormone levels, body temperature and the metabolism.The awardees' work stems back to 1984, when Rosbash and Hall, both at Brandeis, along with Young isolated the "period gene" in fruit flies. Hall and Rosbash found that a protein encoded by the gene accumulated during the night and degraded during daytime. A decade later, Young discovered another "clock gene". Young is at Rockefeller University; Hall formerly was a visiting professor at the University of Maine but said his prize work was done at Brandeis.
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