Young, Michael Warren

Young, Michael Warren, 1949–, American geneticist, b. Miami, Fla., Ph.D. Univ. of Texas, Austin, 1975. Young has been on the faculty at Rockefeller Univ. since 1978, and he was also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1987 to 1996. Young shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall for discoveries of mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm on the molecular level. In 1984 the three researchers (Young worked independently) isolated a gene that controls the circadian rhythm of fruit flies. Work by Hall and Rosbash suggested that a protein (PER) produced by this gene's activity cyclically regulated the gene's activity through a feedback mechanism, and in 1994 Young discovered another gene that produces a protein that binds to PER, allowing them to enter the cell nucleus and regulate the gene that produces PER. Young also discovered third gene that helped regulate the effect of the gene that produces PER, and all three researchers made additional contributions to the scientific understanding of the genetic and molecular regulation of the biological clock. See also rhythm, biological.

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