The Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology was awarded to the Swedish geneticist Svante Paabo for his research on the genomes of extinct hominids and human evolution.
Paabo deciphered the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of modern humans, and discovered a previously unknown species of hominids - Denisovans.
“Paabo also found that gene transfer occurred from these now-extinct hominids to Homo sapiens after migrating out of Africa about 70,000 years ago. This gene transfer is of physiological significance today - for example, influencing how our immune system responds to infections, ”the Nobel Committee said in a statement.
Paabo is one of the founders of the discipline of paleogenetics, which deals with the study of the first humans and hominids using genetic methods. In 1985, he was the first in history to extract genetic material from mummies.
In March 2010, the Paabo group, which studied DNA extracted from a bone fragment found in the Denisova cave in Altai, came to the conclusion that a previously unknown species of hominids, the Denisovan man, existed in antiquity.