Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to Swedish geneticist | News

Swedish researcher Svante Pääbo was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for having achieved the genomic sequencing of Neanderthal man, from which a new scientific discipline was created, paleogenomics, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden announced on Monday. .


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“Through his pioneering research, Pääbo achieved something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of modern humans,” the official Nobel website reported.

The researcher also discovered a previously unknown hominin, Denisova, and was able to elucidate that there had been “a transfer of genes from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens after the migration out of Africa about 70,000 years ago.”

“This ancient gene flow for modern humans has physiological relevance today, for example by affecting how our immune systems react to infections,” the statement added.

Pääbo sequenced the Neanderthal genome and also discovered the previously unknown hominin Denisova. His work showed the genomic changes that came to set humans apart from their closest cousins.

It also showed that both Neanderthals and Denisovans contributed genes that still exist in modern humans.

Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology and Medicine, announced the winner at the Karolinska Institute, saying that when he called the laureate to inform him of the news, Pääbo “seemed overwhelmed, speechless and very happy.”

Pääbo (Stockholm, 1955) is Professor of Evolutionary Molecular Biology at the University of Leipzig (Germany). Since 1997 he has also been director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. In 2018, he was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Research and Science.

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