The Nobel assembly at the Karolinska Institute decided to award the 2017 medicine prize jointly to Hall, Rosbash and Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.
A statement released by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet said, "Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings. Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth's revolutions."
The statement further said, the three scientists showed that this gene encodes a protein that accumulates in the cell during the night, and is then degraded during the day.
They also identified additional protein components of this machinery, exposing the mechanism governing the self-sustaining clockwork inside the cell.
The statement further read, “We now recognize that biological clocks function by the same principles in cells of other multicellular organisms, including humans.”
Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Karolinska Institute Nobel Committee said, “This ability to prepare for the regular daily fluctuations is crucial for all life forms.”
“The Nobel prize laureates of 2017 have been studying this fundamental problem and solved the mystery of how an inner clock in our bodies can anticipate daily fluctuations between night and day to optimize our behavior and physiology,” added Perlmann.
Rosbash in an interview to Reuters said, “It took my breath away, literally. I was woken up out of deep sleep and it was shocking.”
He added that the Nobel prize worth 9 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million) was a ‘little overwhelming.’