Svante Pjabo, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine

This Monday, October 3, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden announced that Svante Pääbo is the winner of perhaps one of the most important prizes in the world of science, the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

The institute commented that the scientist had “achieved something seemingly impossible” by discovering the genetic code of an extinct relative of humans: the Neanderthals.

In addition, Pääbo also found that there was gene transfer between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens as early as more than 70,000 years ago. This information is completely new to the scientific community.

However, perhaps one of the most important achievements that makes Pääbo worthy of this award is the creation of “a completely new scientific discipline, paleogenomics”, as the institute commented.

Who is Svante Pääbo?

When the 67-year-old biologist and geneticist learned he had won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, he asked the organization if he could share the news with his wife, Linda Vigilante, to whom he has been married since 2008 and has two children.

In fact, she took the photo, which was later posted on the awards’ official account after the news broke.

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Pääbo devoted practically his entire life to the study of human genetics. He began studying medicine at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and received his doctorate there in the cell research department years later.

In fact, you could say that science is something of a family interest. His father, the biochemist Sune Bergström, also won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1982 with two colleagues for their “discoveries on prostaglandins and related biologically active substances.”

Pääbo began studying the DNA of extinct creatures even before entering the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, an organization where he currently heads the genetics department since 1997.

However, it was not until 2010 that the Institute and the Pääbo Working Group were able to produce a report. It was a significant advance in his research, which focused on the DNA analysis of a finger bone found in a cave in Siberia.

The work that the scientist has developed has given him more than one award. In 2020, for example, he received Japanese awardan award given to people who push the boundaries of knowledge and contribute to the prosperity of mankind.

It is also a winner of awards such as Corber European Science Prize, in 2018; on Life Science Breakthrough Award, in 2016; on Gruber Genetics Award in 2013 and Leibniz Prize in 1992

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What is Paleogenomics?

According to the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, paleogenomics is “the reconstruction of the genetic sequences of already extinct species.”

This research provides an extremely important scientific advance for understanding the evolution of the human being.

The 2022 Nobel Prizes

With this nomination, the announcements of the Nobel Prizes, which will take place between October 3 and 10, begin.

On Tuesday, the 4th of the same month, the announcements of the winners in physics are expected, on the 5th for chemistry, on the 6th for literature, on the 7th for peace, and ends on October 10 with the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Economics.

(You may be interested: Colombian-Russian scientist is one of the most influential women in science).

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