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The Mind-Blowing Discovery About How We Sleep Could Get Us to Mars

 We’re really just flies on the wall, scientifically speaking

Michael Young nobel prize

Michael Young nobel prize US geneticists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young (pictured) used fruit flies to shed light on the internal biological clock that governs the wake-sleep cycles of most living things. | Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

According to the Nobel Assembly’s press release, the four scientists isolated a gene that controls circadian rhythm using fruit fries as a model. “They identified additional protein components of this machinery, exposing the mechanism governing the self-sustaining clockwork inside the cell. We now recognize that biological clocks function by the same principles in cells of other multicellular organisms, including humans.”

Simpler life forms — like fruit flies and even one-celled organisms — developed circadian rhythms to get ahead of changes in their environments. That means they learned to predict everything from when their environment would get hotter (to avoid burning to death) to, eventually, the movements of their predators and prey.

Today, humans need these rhythms for more complex, but no less essential, reasons. 

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