Saturday, June 10, 2023

Svante Paabo wins Nobel prize in medicine

Svante Paabo was on Monday awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his extraordinary discovery which proved modern humans share DNA with extinct relatives Neanderthals and Denisovans. The Swedish scientist provided key insights into our immune system and what makes us unique compared with our extinct cousins.
Paabo, director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, is the son of Sune Bergstrom, who won the Nobel prize in medicine in 1982.
“Paabo and his team also surprisingly found that gene flow had occurred from Neanderthals to Homo sapiens, demonstrating that they had children together during periods of co-existence,” Anna Wedell, chair of the Nobel Committee said.
Paabo’s work demonstrated practical implications during the COVID-19 pandemic when he found that people infected with the virus who carry a gene variant inherited from Neanderthals are more at risk of severe illness than those who do not.
“Paabo’s seminal research gave rise to an entirely new scientific discipline; 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 Nobel Committee said in its announcement.
The medicine prize kicked off a week of Nobel Prize announcements. It continues Tuesday with the physics prize, with chemistry on Wednesday and literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics award on October 10.
The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on December 10.



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