Svante Paabo has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology 2022 for his findings involving the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution, the award-giving organisation said on Monday.
“The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has now chosen to award Svante Paabo the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his findings concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” according to the Nobel Prize release. Svante Paabo, the 2022 Nobel laureate, discovered gene transmission from now-extinct hominins to Homo sapiens. According to the statement, this historical flow of genes to modern humans has physiological importance today, such as influencing how our immune system responds to illnesses.
Svante Paabo has founded paleogenomics as a completely new scientific science. His insights lay the foundation for further research into what makes us truly human by demonstrating genetic characteristics that separate all contemporary humans from extinct hominins.
Svante Paabo’s pioneering study enabled him to do the seemingly impossible: sequence the DNA of the Neanderthal, an extinct cousin of modern humans. He also discovered Denisova, a previously unknown hominid, purely from genetic data extracted from a little finger bone specimen.
Paabo also discovered DNA transmission from these now-extinct hominins to Homo sapiens during the migration from Africa some 70,000 years ago, according to the announcement.
Svante Paabo is a Swedish biologist who specialises in evolutionary genetics and was recruited to the University of Munich in 1990, where he continued his work on ancient DNA as a newly appointed Professor.
Earlier in 2020, David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of temperature and touch receptors.
David Julius used capsaicin, a strong chemical derived from chilli peppers that causes a burning sensation, to find a heat-responsive sensor in skin nerve endings.
Ardem Patapoutian discovered a new class of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs by using pressure-sensitive cells.
These groundbreaking discoveries sparked extensive study efforts, resulting in a fast gain in understanding of how the nervous system detects heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli.