Svante Pääboknown as the father of the neanderthal genomehas been recognized this year with the Nobel Prize in Medicine for its impressive work on extended hominin genomes and human evolution. The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm wanted to highlight his research as “an apparently impossible achievement. It sequences the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of modern humans.” Pääbo’s work has given rise to a new scientific discipline: paleogenomicsdistinguished for this in 2018 with the Princess of Asturias Award. It is important to note that this is the first time that the jury has recognized the Nobel Prize for research on human evolution incorporating genetics as a new way of knowing our originsyes The Swedish biologist has been very surprised after learning of his award. “Overcome, speechless. I really didn’t think that they would make me worthy of a Nobel Prize”, acknowledges the Swedish researcher.
“By revealing the genetic differences between current people and extinct hominids, their discoveries allow us to investigate what makes us genuinely human,” says the jury responsible for the award.
Specifically, Pääbo’s research focused on sequencing a region of mitochondrial DNA from a piece of bone from 40,000 years ago. His findings have generated a new evolutionary compression of the human being, discovering that there had been a gene transfer from extinct hominins to Homo Sapiens. Another feature of his work is that he explores the origins of the human species using tools reserved for molecular biology and medicine. The delivery of these prestigious prizes will be on December 10, on the anniversary of Nobel’s death. Where we come from, what makes us human or how our ancestors lived are big questions that science asks. There are many professionals who seek to train as highly qualified technicians in companies or organizations that focus their work on scientific research.
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