Swedish geneticist Svante Pabo has won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced on October 3 that he will receive the $900,500 prize this year, as director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Overcoming technical barriers to detect changes in DNA over tens of thousands of years, Svante Paabo has accurately sequenced the genome of one of our closest and most extinct evolutionary relatives, the Neanderthal.
It was also possible to identify the previously unknown Denisovan.
Svante Pabo has shown that both these human species lived together with humans and that our DNA mixed with their DNA after modern humans migrated out of Africa about 70,000 years ago.
“Like us, Neanderthals had big brains. They used weapons and lived in groups.”
Anna Wedel, a member of the Nobel Committee in Physiology or Medicine of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, made the announcement on Monday, October 2.
Pabo successfully sequenced the Neanderthal genome in 2008 by extracting mitochondrial DNA from ancient bones.
The closest relative of modern man – Denisovan
Not only did he discover that modern humans and Neanderthals are genetically different, but that the two species are descended from a common ancestor that lived 800,000 years ago, and that they both lived together and produced offspring.
2% of the DNA of modern humans of European or Asian descent is derived from Neanderthals.
After scanning the genome of a 40,000-year-old fragment of bone found in Siberia’s Denisova Cave, Pabo and his co-researchers discovered an entirely new human species, the Denisovan.
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From Live Science.