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Sweden’s Svante Paabo awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine


Bright Times News: Svante Paabo, a Swedish paleogeneticist, received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine on Monday “for his findings concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” kicking off a week of prize presentations staged in the midst of the horrific conflict in Ukraine.

The Nobel committee stated that Paabo, who founded the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and also holds an adjunct professorship at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, sequenced the genome of the extinct Neanderthal, a relative of modern humans, through his groundbreaking work.

The committee stated that Paabo, who made headlines for discovering the previously undiscovered hominin Denisovan, also discovered that gene transfer had taken place from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens following the migration out of Africa about 70,000 years ago.

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This ancient genetic transfer to modern humans has physiological implications for us today, influencing, for instance, how our immune systems respond to illnesses.

The award was given to American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian last year for their study on the body’s temperature and touch receptors.

The physics, chemistry, and literature prizes will be presented after the medicine prize on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, respectively. The peace prize, which is the most anticipated of the prizes and the only one to be presented in Oslo, will follow on Friday, and the economics prize will round out the announcements on October 10.

However, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is anticipated to be of particular significance.

After a year defined by violence and destruction in Ukraine, the Nobel Prizes, which were established more than 120 years ago when Europe was torn apart by two world wars, will honor people who have “conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”

Will the Norwegian Nobel Committee award another anti-Putin medal in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine after Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov and his Philippine colleague Maria Ressa shared the Peace Prize last year for their advocacy of freedom of expression?

Both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, both situated in The Hague and charged with investigating war crimes in Ukraine, have been cited as potential winners this year. Both Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the opposition in Belarus, and Russian dissident Alexei Navalny are currently in jail.

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