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The 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young for their work on the genetic and cellular mechanisms that govern biological clocks and circadian rhythms, per AP.

"Their discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth's revolutions," said Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, when he announced the prize.

Why it matters: Hall, Rosbach, and Young's work launched the field of circadian biology. We now understand that when our waking cycle doesn't match our inner clock — think jet-lag — there could be lasting health consequences.

What they found: Hall, Rosbash and Young received the award for their work on fruit fly genes named "period," "timeless" and "doubletime." Period encodes the protein PER, which builds up in cells during the day and breaks down at night. Timeless codes the protein TIM, which helps PER enter the cell's nucleus and interact with the DNA. Doubletime is thought to control the rate these fluctuations happen.

How it works: It's a negative feedback loop. The proteins build until they reach such a high level that they enter the cell's nucleus and turn off the genes that encoded them in the first place. Then, they degrade until the gene turns back on. This discovery of this elegant system was called "paradigm-shifting" by the prize committee.

Editor's note: This post has updated.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.