MONDAY, Oct. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Two American scientists and a British researcher have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability, it was announced Monday.

The three joint winners are William Kaelin Jr. and Gregg Semenza of the U.S. and Peter Ratcliffe of the U.K., The New York Times reported.

Their work “identified the molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen,” which is a major advance in the understanding of the importance of oxygen to animals, according to the Nobel Assembly.

The assembly noted that the role of oxygen in the process of converting food into useful energy has long been known, but how cells adapt to changing oxygen levels was unclear, The Times reported.

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