Svante Paabo, a brilliant 67-year-old Swedish scientist, has been named the Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize winner for 2022 after obtaining DNA from the bones of a 40,000-year-old corpse.
In addition to being able to precipitate the DNA from the 40,000-year-old human bones, Svante Paabo, who had been researching on the breakthrough quest for decades, was also successfully sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an endangered cousin of modern humans.
Paleogenomics, a brand-new branch of science made possible by Svante Paabo’s discovery that prehistoric hominids and homo sapiens exchanged genes, was born.
What Paabo’s study accomplished was deemed unachievable, according to Dr. Nils-Goran Larsson, the chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine and a professor of medical biochemistry at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
Svante Paabo received the award “for his findings about the genomes of prehistoric hominids and biological development,” according to a statement posted on the website of the Nobel Prize organization.
“Paabo’s groundbreaking work gave rise to paleogenomics, a completely new field of study. His insights focus on providing the groundwork for investigating what renders us distinctively human by exposing genetic variations that set all living humans apart from ancient hominins, the statement continued.
When asked if the new finding would alter how people think of themselves today, Dr. Nils-Goran responded, “In some context, I believe it does, the semblance of realization that there were other manifestations of humans around until quite lately, maybe 14 hundred lifetimes or so ago, and they blended with our forefathers and have made a significant contribution to us today.”
The reality that we are the only type of humans in existence makes the past 40.000 years distinctive in human history. There were virtually always different kinds of humans before that, he said.
Professor Svante Paabo expressed his joy at winning and said he never anticipated hearing from the Nobel Committee or that his work would be considered for a prize.
“I was just finishing the last of my tea before leaving to pick my daughter up from her babysitter, where she had spent the night. Then, I received a call from Sweden, and I immediately assumed it was related to our tiny vacation home. He stated, “I assumed the lawn mower had been deconstructed or something.”
Svante Paabo, who is 67 years old, is a professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan and one of the pioneers of paleogenetics.
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