Topics: Medicine, Nobel Laureate, Nobel Prize
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet
has today decided to award
the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution
Humanity has always been intrigued by its origins. Where do we come from, and how are we related to those who came before us? What makes us, Homo sapiens, different from other hominins?
Through his pioneering research, Svante Pääbo accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans. He also made the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisova. Importantly, Pääbo 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.
Pääbo’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.
Press release: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2022. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2022. Mon. 3 Oct 2022. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2022/press-release/>