Svante Paabo wins Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for evolution research

STOCKHOLM — A Swedish scientist has won this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

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According to The Associated Press, the Nobel Committee announced Monday that Stockholm native Svante Paabo won the award for his research on human evolution.

“Through his pioneering research, Svante Paabo accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans,” the committee said in a news release. “He also made the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisova. Importantly, Paabo also found that gene transfer had occurred from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens following the migration out of Africa around 70,000 years ago. This ancient flow of genes to present-day humans has physiological relevance today, for example, affecting how our immune system reacts to infections.”

The committee added that Paabo’s research launched a new scientific discipline called 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,” the release said.

The remaining Nobel Prizes for 2022 will be announced in the coming days:

  • Tuesday: Nobel Prize in physics
  • Wednesday: Nobel Prize in chemistry
  • Thursday: Nobel Prize in literature
  • Friday: Nobel Peace Prize
  • Oct. 10: Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

Each prize includes an award of 10 million Swedish kronor, or about $900,000, according to the AP.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.