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Meet Svante Paabo: 2022's Nobel Laureate for Medicine

Image Credits: TIME

2022's Nobel Prize for Medicine has gone to Svante Paabo — a 67-year-old Swedish geneticist who pioneered DNA tests for human fossils, many of which are several thousand years old.

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Born in Stockholm in 1955 to Estonian chemist Karin Paabo and biochemist Sune Bergstrom, the scientist was born into a Nobel legacy, his father earning a third of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Image Credits: polityka.pl

At the age of 31, Paabo earned his PhD from Uppsala University, researching the link between adenovirus proteins and the immune system.It wasn't until the 1990s, however, that Paabo began his work on founding the field of 'paleogenetics'.

Image Credits: japanprize.jp

First, Paabo's team announced a successful Neanderthal DNA sequencing project. This was followed by a series of research on the 'FOXP2' language gene, and went on to announce his first draft of the Neanderthal genome by 2009 — the same project that he was awarded for this week.

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Paabo — who is openly bisexual, by the way — continued to make a major impact in both academic and pop science circuits, having been the recipient of several awards and even featured multiple times on TIME magazine.

Image Credits: l-iz.de

As for his new Nobel Prize worth just under $1 million, Paabo responded with a sense of humility. " I have received a couple of prizes before but I somehow did not think that this really would qualify for a Nobel Prize," he told reporters.

Image Credits: eva.mpg.de

"The  thing that's amazing to me is that you now have some ability to go back in time and actually follow genetic history and genetic changes over time," Paabo told a news conference at the Max Planck Institute. "It's a possibility to begin to actually look on evolution in real time, if you like."