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Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology 2022 for Svante Pääbo, father of paleogenetics

The week of the Nobel prizes begins. The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology to Swedish biologist Svante Pääbo , a specialist in evolutionary genetics, for his discoveries on the genomes of extinct hominids and human evolution.

The Karolinska Institutet committee has awarded the researchers “for discoveries related to the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution”. Pääbo proved that Neanderthals are still alive. The ‘seemingly impossible’ task proved that interbreeding occurred between humans’ closest extinct relatives: Neanderthals and Denisovans.

His key achievements include sequencing a complete Neanderthal genome to reveal the link between extinct people and modern humans. It also brought to light the existence of a previously unknown human species (the Denisovans) from a 40,000-year-old finger bone fragment discovered in Siberia.

The prize, possibly one of the most prestigious in the scientific world, is awarded by the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and has a value of 10 million Swedish crowns (920,232 euros, approximately).

“Svante Pääbo’s contribution to knowledge is extraordinary. In addition to conceiving the advances in paleogenetics that have opened up a whole wealth of new research, Svante Pääbo knew how to integrate the classic disciplines of paleontology and archeology into a new scientific paradigm with the development of the most avant-garde research techniques”, he explains to Science Media Center Antonio Rosas, research professor in the Paleobiology department at the National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC.

Professor Pääbo, who has worked in academia for 40 years, works at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

Last year , the Medicine Prize went to the American couple David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries about receptors for temperature and touch, which have been used to develop treatments for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including pain. chronic.

The next Nobels:

Nobel season continues this week with the announcement of the winners of the physics prize on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday, peace on Friday and economics on Monday.

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