Swedish scientist Svante Paabo received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on human evolution.
He succeeded in deciphering the genetic code of one of our ancient ancestors, the Neanderthals, according to the Nobel Prize selection committee.
Additionally, he accomplished the “sensational” achievement of identifying the previously unidentified kin group, the Denisovans.
His research contributed to the understanding of human evolution and global dispersal.
The study of the Swedish geneticist answers some of the most fundamental concerns, such as where did Homo sapiens come from and what made us successful while our ancestors perished.
The 1990s saw a rapid pace of research towards deciphering the human genetic code. However, that was dependent on brand-new, pure DNA samples.
Our forefathers’ outdated, damaged, and tainted genetic material piqued Prof. Paabo’s curiosity. Many people believed that the task was unsolvable. The DNA from a fragment of bone that was 40,000 years old, however, could finally be sequenced for the first time.
These findings demonstrated the differences between contemporary humans and chimps and Neanderthals, who predominantly inhabited Europe and Western Asia.
The DNA of Neanderthals was found to be more similar to that of European or Asian people after further comparisons with humans from across the world.
This indicates that after leaving Africa some 70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens interacted sexually and fathered offspring with Neanderthals.
And even now, you can still see the effects of it. Our bodies’ capacity to fight infections is even impacted by the 1-4% of present human DNA that is derived from our Neanderthal ancestors.