With exquisite precision, our inner clock adapts our physiology to the dramatically different phases of the day. It can regulate critical functions such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism. Our wellbeing is affected when there is a temporary mismatch between our external environment and this internal biological clock. In addition, there are indications that chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and the rhythm dictated by our inner timekeeper is associated with increased risk for various diseases.
This year, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm. Using fruit flies as a model organism, this year's Nobel laureates isolated a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm.