Svante Paabo of Sweden has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on human evolution.
The Prize committee claimed that he succeeded in solving the genetic code of one of our ancient ancestors, the Neanderthals, an insurmountable challenge.
He also accomplished the “sensational” achievement of identifying the hitherto unidentified kin-group known as Denisovans.
His research aided in the investigation of our evolutionary past and the global dispersal of humanity.
The work of the Swedish geneticist provides answers to some of the most fundamental problems, including our origins and what made it possible for Homo sapiens to survive while our ancestors vanished.
Human genetic code decipherment research was moving quickly in the 1990s. But that required recent, spotless DNA samples.
The outdated deteriorated, and tainted genetic material from our forefathers piqued Prof. Paabo’s curiosity. Many people believed it to be an impossible task. However, he was able to sequence DNA from a sample of 40,000-year-old bone for the first time.
These findings demonstrated the differences between Neanderthals, who predominately inhabited Europe and Western Asia, and contemporary humans and chimps.
His research was primarily concerned with hominins, a subclass of modern humans that includes both ourselves, Homo sapiens, and our extinct ancestors.