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Svante Paabo Wins 2022 Nobel Prize In Medicine For His Discoveries On Human Origins

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Svante Paabo was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology on Monday. He received the prize “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” said the award-giving body.

Svante Paabo’s father, bioscientist Sune Bergstrom, had also won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1982.

Announcing the award, the Nobel committee said that the scientist sequenced the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans, and made the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisova.

Thomas Perlmann, secretary for the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, called Paabo to give the news. He said that Paabo was “incredibly thrilled about this award.” “He was overwhelmed, he was speechless. Very happy,” said Thomas Perlmann.

Anna Wedell, chair of the Nobel Committee, said, “Paabo and his team also surprisingly found that gene flow had occurred from Neanderthals to Homo sapiens, demonstrating that they had children together during periods of co-existence.”

Who is Svante Paabo?

He was born in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, in 1955. Paabo is currently heading the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. After completing his medical studies at the University of Uppsala, he started working as a part-time researcher and instructor at the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology in Uppsala in 1980.

Paabo’s achievements

Paabo has studied human origins and developed approaches to clear the passage for examining DNA sequences from archaeological and paleontological materials.

Paabo has pioneered innovative methods of comparing the genomes of modern humans and other hominins, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans.

His most notable accomplishments include sequencing the whole genome of a Neanderthal to show the connection between extinct people and present humans. From a 40,000-year-old finger bone fragment found in Siberia, he also revealed the existence of a hitherto undiscovered human race known as the Denisovans.

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