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Nobel in Physiology or Medicine: Svante Pääbo’s father won the same prize in 1982

Swedish Geneticist Svante Pääbo is the son of biochemist Karl Sune Detlof Bergström.

October 03, 2022 / 05:44 PM IST
(Images: AFP and

(Images: AFP and

In 1982, Swedish biochemist Karl Sune Detlof Bergström won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Forty years later, his son Svante Pääbo has been honoured in the same category, for his work in the field of evolution.

For Svante Pääbo, the biggest influence in his life is his mother, chemist Karin Pääbo, he said in an interview with the Nobel foundation. Pääbo added he was not as close with his father but he took big interest in his work.

Pääbo said having Bergström as his father taught him one thing -- that even laureates are "normal human beings".

"It (winning a Nobel) is not such an amazing thing that you may have bigger confidence, to try challenging things yourself."


Also read: Nobel winner Svante Pääbo: Swedish geneticist who sequenced the first Neanderthal genome


Pääbo's groundbreaking research led him to accomplish something considered impossible before: the sequencing of Neanderthal genome. He also discovered Denisova -- a previously unknown hominin.

His studies also gave birth to an entirely new discipline called paleogenomics -- which focusses on the analysis of "genomic information in extinct species".

Pääbo's sequencing of early Hominini shows how closely they are related to us.

"We are actually so closely related that that they have contributed quite directly, DNA to the ancestors of most people today, who have roots outside Africa," Pääbo said in the interview.

"Those variants influence many things in our physiology today," he continued.

Pääbo discoveries create the foundation for exploring what makes us uniquely human. "The question of our origin has long intrigued humanity and remains the focus of intense interest and discussion," the Nobel foundation said.

first published: Oct 3, 2022 05:36 pm