The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2022
Born: 20 April 1955, Stockholm, Sweden
Affiliation at the time of the award: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany; Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan
Prize motivation: “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution”
Prize share: 1/1
Where do we humans come from, and how are we related to extinct hominins? In 2010, Svante Pääbo succeeded in sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal. He also discovered a previously unknown hominin, Denisova. He also found that gene transfer had occurred from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens following the migration out of Africa around 70,000 years ago. This ancient flow of genes to present-day humans has physiological relevance today, for example affecting how our immune system reacts to infections.