Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Swedish Scientist over Human Evolution

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According to the organization, Svante Paabo has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for his discoveries relating the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.”

Monday, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden announced the coveted prize. Paabo’s studies on ancient DNA and the formation of a new scientific field, paleogenomics, have been significant in the quest to learn more about the origins of humanity.

Paabo sequenced the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct human relative; discovered Denisova, an unknown hominin –the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species, and all our immediate ancestors,” according to the Australian Museum; and determined how ancient genes transferred from hominins to homo sapiens (that’s us) and how it affects our physiology.

Scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine last year for discovering how our systems perceive hugs and heat.

Paabo is the year’s first Nobel Prize winner. This week and next, the prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Economic Sciences, and the much awaited Nobel Peace Prize will be presented.

Who is Svante Paabo?

Svante Paabo, who was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1955, is currently in charge of the Leipzig-based Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 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.

He received his Ph.D. in 1986, the same year he started postdoctoral study at the Institute for Molecular Biology II. He completed his prize-winning academic work at the University of Munich in Germany.

The genomes of modern humans and other hominins, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, could be compared thanks to innovative methods pioneered by Paabo.

“Paleogenomics was created as a result of Paabo’s groundbreaking study. His studies lay the groundwork for investigating what makes us specifically human by exposing genetic differences that separate all living humans from extinct hominins “According to the Nobel Committee’s announcement.

A week of Nobel Prize announcements began with the award for medical research. Tuesday’s reward is for physics, followed by Wednesday’s for chemistry and Thursday’s for literature. The economics prize will be awarded on October 10, while the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday.

The cash awards for the prizes total 10 million Swedish kronor, or roughly $900,000. They will be distributed on December 10.

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