Sleepless in Seattle wins Nobel Prize

Wait, that’s not right. True, but the Nobel Prize in Medicine was recently awarded to 3 American scientists for discoveries about the molecular mechanisms controlling the body’s circadian rhythm. How’d they do it? They used the same fruit flies you killed in a jar during your middle school science class. The scientists found a gene that encoded a protein (now called PER) that accumulated in cells at night, and then degraded during the day. They found all organisms, including humans, operate on 24-hour rhythms that control not only sleep and wakefulness but also physiology generally, including blood pressure and heart rate, alertness, body temperature and reaction time. FYI, in case you think you’re getting a Nobel Prize next year for the work you did this summer, think again. This research started in 1984.
Here’s your Sleepless in Seattle clip. *sniff, sniff*

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