Svante Paabo, a Swedish researcher, was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for revealing Neanderthal DNA secrets. Paabo’s discoveries helped us better understand what distinguishes humans from our extinct ancestors. They also offered crucial information about how we are susceptible to severe COVID-19 infections.


Credit: wyborcza


The award, which is arguably one of the most prestigious in the scientific community, is given by the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It is worth almost 10 million Swedish crowns.


Researchers thanked Svante Paabo for his developed techniques which make them able to compare the genomes of modern humans and other hominins, including the Neanderthals and Denisovans.


Credit: science


After a 40,000-year-old fragment of a finger bone was found in the Denisova cave in the southern region of Siberia in 2008, Paabo discovered a previously unidentified hominin that was given the name Denisova. The bone’s unusually well-preserved DNA was sequenced by Paabo’s team.


Additionally, this research assisted in tracing the migrations of extinct species and how those influences affected the physiology of contemporary humans, particularly how our immune systems function.


Credit: nytimes


Paleogenomics, a completely new scientific field, was created as a result of Paabo’s groundbreaking research. His discoveries lay the groundwork for investigating what makes us specifically human by exposing genetic differences that set all living humans apart from extinct hominins.


Credit: wyborcza


Sune Bergström, a father of Pääbo who was a biochemist co-shared the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, discovered prostaglandins, substances in the body that have hormone-like effects.