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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Swedish explorer of ancient DNA Svante Paabo wins Nobel Prize 2022

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The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was bestowed to Swedish scientist Svante Paabo
by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. The prize is worth 10 million Swedish crowns
($900,357).

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Swedish scientist Svante Paabo for
findings concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.

The Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute awards the prize, which is considered among the
most renowned in the scientific world, and it is valued 10 million Swedish crowns ($900,357). It is the
first of the awards in 2022.

Paabo was informed about the news by Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Committee for
Physiology or Medicine.

Paabo, the son of Nobel Laureate Sune Bergström, is recognized for changing the study of human origins
by establishing methods for examining DNA sequences from archaeological and paleontological remains.

His most notable accomplishments include the decoding of a full Neanderthal genome, which revealed
the relationship between extinct people and current humans. He also found the Denisovans, a
previously unknown human race, from a 40,000-year-old piece of a finger bone recovered in Siberia.

The Nobel Prizes, established in the will of Swedish dynamite inventor and rich businessman Alfred
Nobel, have been given since 1901, while the economics prize was added later.

The COVID-19 epidemic has pushed medical research to the forefront, with many hoping that the
creation of vaccinations that have allowed the world to reclaim some sort of normalcy will be rewarded
in the future.

Nonetheless, it often takes several years for any specific research to be recognized, with the committees
tasked with selecting the winners attempting to identify its true significance with considerable
confidence amid a crowded field of applicants. When questioned why the prize was not given for
improvements in COVID combat, Perlmann responded it was a valid question that he would not address.

“We only discuss persons who are winning the Nobel Prize, not those who are not receiving or have not
yet won them.”

According to David Pendlebury of UK-based scientific data analytics service Clarivate, Svante Pääbo’s
most referenced publication in the Web of Science was published in 1989 and received 4,077 citations.

“Only about 2,000 papers have been referenced this many times out of 55 million published since 1970.”

In any case, this year’s celebrations should mark the return of the Nobel dinner in Stockholm after a
two-year hiatus owing to the epidemic, an occasion replete with old-world pomp and grandeur after
years of social isolation.

Last year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for
discovering receptors in the human skin that feel temperature and touch and translate the physical
impact into nerve impulses.

Past winners in the category include a slew of well-known scientists, most notably Alexander Fleming,
who shared the 1945 award for discovering penicillin, and Robert Koch, who won in 1905 for his TB
studies.

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