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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - LONDON — Svante Pääbo has won the Nobel Prize for medicine for “his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” it has been announced.
The Nobel Committee said Pääbo, a Swedish geneticist, “accomplished something seemingly impossible” when he sequenced the first neanderthal genome and discovered that Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals.
The evidence for his discovery first emerged in 2010, after Pääbo pioneered methods to extract, sequence and analyze ancient DNA from Neanderthal bones. Thanks to his work, scientists can compare Neanderthal genomes with the genetic records of living humans today.
“Pääbo’s seminal research gave rise to an entirely new scientific discipline; paleogenomics,” the committee said. “By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human.”
When he first unveiled his findings in 2010, Pääbo said that “having a first version of the Neanderthal genome fulfills a longstanding dream.”
Pääbo has worked as the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany since 1997, and is an Honorary Research Fellow at London’s Natural History Museum. — CNN
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