Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee announced that Swedish geneticist Svante Paabo won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries "concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution."
"Through his pioneering research, Svante Paabo accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans," the Committee said.
"He also made the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisova." The scientist found that gene transfer had occurred from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens following the migration out of Africa around 70,000 years ago.
"This ancient flow of genes to present-day humans has physiological relevance today, for example affecting how our immune system reacts to infections," the statement added. Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, announced.
Through his pioneering research, Svante Pääbo – this year’s #NobelPrize laureate in physiology or medicine – accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans. pic.twitter.com/XO64ysoWnw
Paabo's seminal research gave rise to an entirely new scientific discipline: paleogenomics. By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human.
The genetic differences between Homo sapiens and our closest extinct relatives were unknown until they were identified through Paabo's seminal work. Intense ongoing research focuses on analyzing the functional implications of these differences with the ultimate goal of explaining what makes us uniquely human.
Paabo, born in 1955 in Stockholm, Sweden, had his Ph.D. degree in 1986 at Uppsala University, Sweden. He founded the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in 1999 in Leipzig, Germany, where he is still active. The prize amount is about US$900,000.