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Svante Paabo awarded Nobel Prize 2022 in Medicine for Neanderthal genome mapping

Svante Pääbo, a Swedish geneticist with a focus on evolutionary genetics, was born on April 20, 1955 . Pääbo was raised by his mother, Estonian scientist Karin Pääbo in Stockholm. His father Sune Bergström, a biochemist, shared the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with John R. Vane and Bengt I. Samuelsson. Svante Pääbo was one of the pioneers of paleogenetics and put a lot of effort into understanding Neanderthal DNA.

Since 1997, Svante Pääbo has served as the department’s founding head at Leipzig, Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Additionally, he teaches at the Japan-based Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology.

In 1986, he received a Ph.D. from Uppsala University for his studies on the immune system’s modulation by adenoviruses’ E19 protein. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Zürich’s Institute for Molecular Biology II from 1986 to 1987. Pääbo worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, USA’s Department of Biochemistry from 1987 to 1990.

Svante Paabo received the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine on Monday 3rd October for his remarkable research concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution, that demonstrated how to present humans and their ancient ancestor Neanderthals and Denisovans share DNA from The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet. The Swedish scientist offered essential insights into our immune system and what distinguishes us from our extinct ancestors.

His research aided in investigating our own evolutionary past and the global dispersal of humanity. The study of the Swedish geneticist provides answers to some of the most fundamental problems, including our origins and what made it possible for Homo sapiens to survive while our ancestors vanished.

Additional analyses of Neanderthal DNA revealed that it was more similar to people from Europe or Asia than to humans from other parts of the world. This indicates that after leaving Africa some 70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals and fathered offspring.

The monetary awards for the prizes total 10 million Swedish kronor, or around $900,000. They will be distributed on December 10. The funds originate from a gift made by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor who founded the award and died in 1895.

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