Swedish scientist Svante Paabo wins Medicine Nobel for discoveries in human evolutiontext_fields
Stockholm: Swedish scientist Svante Paabo has won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for studying extinct hominins and human evolution. He was chosen for his discoveries concerning genomes.
It is the first of this year's batch of prizes.
"Through his pioneering research, Svante Pääbo accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans. He also made the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisova," said the Nobel Prize committee.
"Svante Pääbo's 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," said the official statement.
Specialising in the field of evolutionary genetics, he has worked extensively on the Neanderthal genome. He is one of the founders of paleogenetics - a discipline that uses the methods of genetics to study early humans and other ancient populations. In 1997, Pääbo and colleagues reported their successful sequencing of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from a specimen found in Feldhofer grotto in the Neander valley in Germany.
In 2006, he announced plans to reconstruct the entire genome of Neanderthals. In 2009, his team completed the first draft which shed new light on the recent evolutionary history of modern humans. In 2014, he published the book Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes - a mixed form of memoir and popular science.
He was also appointed as the director of the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, German. The geneticist also works as a professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan. One of his popular research is about language genes that are missing or found damaged in people with language disabilities.
Paabo and his team in 2010 studied a bone that belonged to an extinct member of the genus Homo. This is the first time the member has been recognised and discovered using DNA analysis.
The Nobel Prize is among the most prestigious honours in the scientific community. The Nobel Assembly of Sweden's Karolinska Institute awards the winners 0 million Swedish crowns ($900,357).