Svante Pääbo, a Swedish biologist and geneticist, receives the Nobel Prize for Medicine

Swedish biologist and geneticist Svante Pääbo was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology.the institute reported Karolinska from Swedenfor his findings on “extinct hominin genomes and human evolution”.

Pääbo was born in Stockholm in 1955 and is a professor of evolutionary molecular biology at the University of Leipzig (Germany). Since 1997, he has also been the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. And in 2018, he was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Research and Science.

He is one of the founders of paleogenetics, he led the entire Neanderthal genome sequencing project and found that 2% of the genome of modern non-African humans came from Neanderthalsso both species are hybridized.

While I was working on this project, so did I discovered a new species of hominid, the Denisovan, lived 30,000 years ago and his remains were found in the Siberian Denisova Cave. This is for the first extinct homo and exclusively described through genetic dataextracted from a finger bone fragment.

father of paleogenetics

This Northern European scientist has established “a completely new scientific discipline, paleogenetics. By revealing the genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, their findings provide the foundation for research into what makes us uniquely human.”

As he continues, the award-winning “found that gene transfer occurred from these now-extinct hominins to Homo sapiens. This ancient gene flow for modern humans has physiological significance today, for example by affecting the way our immune system responds to infections.”

In addition, the Swedish institute emphasizes that the winner “achieved something apparently impossible: sequenced the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of modern humans (…) and also made the sensational discovery of an extinct hominin, the Denisovan, entirely from genomic data recovered from a little finger bone sample,” explained Karolinska.

World reference in the field of genetics for years

For Pääbo, the scientific vocation came from the cradle: his mother, an Estonian Karin Paabo, was chemistry; his father, Sune Bergstrom, biochemist who shared the 1982 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on prostaglandins.

As revealed in several interviews, this was the result of an extramarital affair between Pääbo and Bergström, which he kept a secret from his own family.

Pääbo studied history of science, Egyptology, Russian language and medicine at the University of Uppsala (Sweden), which he later supplemented with courses in molecular biology at the universities of Zurich (Switzerland) and California (USA).

After working as a lecturer at the universities of Uppsala and Munich (Germany), was appointed in 1997 as director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, where he became a world reference in paleogenetics.

Pääbo’s fame transcended the boundaries of science and in 2007, after the reconstruction of the Neanderthal genome, He was chosen by the American magazine “Time” as one of the 100 most influential people of the year.

Among his most notable works is sequencing of the oldest mitochondrial DNA ever achieved, primitive man, midway between the extinct apes and the first men.

A genome that corresponds to a femur found at Cima de los Huesos de Atapuerca (Burgos, northern Spain) at ca. 400,000 years and that it is the oldest human fossil in which DNA has been found.

Last year, the Nobel Prize in Medicine went to researchers David Julius and Ardem Pataputianthe discoverers of the cell receptors that humans use to sense temperature and touch.

The Nobel Prizes are endowed with 10 million Swedish kroner ($900,000) per category and are awarded on the anniversary of Nobel’s death December 10.

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