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Scientist wins Nobel Prize for extracting DNA from 40,000-year-old bones

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Paabo

SVANTE Paabo, a Swedish scientist has joined the roll call of scientists who has delved into long time researches in new discoveries of possible human evolution as he emerges the winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

  The 67-year-old won the prize for his decades’ work of extracting DNA from 40,000-year-old bones and sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans.

  He was also able to establish that gene transfer occurred between extinct hominins and homo sapiens.

  In a statement on its website, the Nobel Prize organisation said Paabo won the prize “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.”

  Paabo’s seminal research gave rise to an entirely new scientific discipline; paleogenomics. 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

statement added.

  According to the Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine and a Professor in Medical Biochemistry for the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Dr Nils-Goran Larsson, what Paabo’s work achieved had been considered impossible.

  Speaking in an audio posted on Nobel Prize’s website, Paabo said his work made him realise that other types of humans existed and contributed to the homo sapiens of today.

  He added that:  “Well, it does tell us that we are very closely related, first of all, and we are so closely related that they have contributed quite directly, 50, 60 thousand years ago, DNA to the ancestors of most people today, those who have their roots outside Africa and that variation that, sort of, those variants do have an influence, and influence many things in our physiology today”.

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