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Friday, December 2, 2022

Sweden’s Svante Pääbo Wins Nobel in Physiology or Medicine

He has been awarded “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution”

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SWEDEN: Scientist Svante Pääbo is awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries “concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” the international award-giving body notified on Monday.

Pääbo was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1955 and performed his award-winning experiments at the University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Lepzig, Germnay.

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Pääbo sequenced the genome of the Neanderthal and also discovered the previously unknown hominin Denisova. His work showed the genomic changes that came to differentiate humans and their closest cousins. 

His research also discovered that both Neanderthals and Denisovans contributed genes that still exist in modern humans today.

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“By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human,” the Nobel committee said.

The Nobel prize, which is arguably one of the most revered and prestigious accolades in the scientific field in human history, is awarded by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. The prize is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($900,357).

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The declaration for the prize-winner of the Medicine category is one of the first of this year’s star line-up. Other awardees will be notified in due course.

Created to pay tribute to the artistic genius of Swedish dynamite inventor and wealthy business tycoon, Alfred Nobel, the prizes of grand achievements in science, literature and peace have been handed down to iconic figures since 1901, though the economic prize is a later addition.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed scientific research at the forefront with many expecting that the introduction and further discovery of other vaccines have allowed a sense of normalcy to seep in and will eventually be rewarded.

Photo Credit: Twitter/ The Nobel Prize

Still, it takes several years for a research experiment to be concluded, especially one that focuses on the human race. Moreover, there is immense pressure on the deciding body to evaluate every contender and give their authentic and unbiased judgement on the outcome.

This year’s festivities will be conducted at the Nobel banquet in Stockholm after a two-year hiatus dampened Nobel celebrations and award ceremonies.

Last year’s medicine prize went to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for the discovery of receptors in the human skin that sense temperature and touch, converting the physical impact into nerve impulses.

Past winners in the field include a string of famous researchers, notably Alexander Fleming, who shared the 1945 prize for the discovery of penicillin, and Robert Koch, who won already in 1905 for his investigations of tuberculosis.

Also Read: Birth Anniversary of CV Raman, Still the Only Indian Scientist with a Nobel Prize in Physics

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