Trio awarded Nobel Prize for body clock study.
THREE Americans have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries about the body's biological clock - opening up 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 nine million kronor (PS820,000) 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, behaviour, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.
They "were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings", the Nobel citation said.
"Circadian dysfunction has been linked to sleep disorders, as well as depression, bipolar disorder, cognitive function, memory formation and some neurological diseases," according to a Nobel background report. The awardees' work stems back to 1984.
Mr Hall and Mr 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". The work was done using fruit flies.