Svante Pääbo (born 20 April 1955) is a Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics. He was born in 1955 in Stockholm, father Sune Bergström (the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Bengt I. Samuelsson and John R. Vane in 1982) and mother Estonian Karin Pääbo, earned his PhD from Uppsala University in 1986. Since 1997, he has been director of the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Pääbo's department in August 2002 published findings about the "language gene", FOXP2, which is lacking or damaged in some individuals with language disabilities.
Pääbo is known as one of the founders of paleogenetics, a discipline that uses the methods of genetics to study early humans and other ancient populations. In 2006, he announced a plan to reconstruct the entire genome of Neanderthals. In 2007, Pääbo was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people of the year.
In February 2009, at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), it was announced that the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in collaboration with the 454 Life Sciences Corporation, had completed the first draft version of the Neanderthal genome, with over 3 billion base pairs sequenced. This project, led by Svante Pääbo, will shed new light on the recent evolutionary history of modern humans.
In March 2010, Pääbo and his coworkers published a report about the DNA analysis of a finger bone found in the Denisova Cave in Siberia; the results suggests that it belonged to an extinct member of the genus Homo that had not yet been recognized, the Denisova hominin.
In May 2010, Pääbo and his colleagues published the draft Neanderthal genome in the journal Science. He and his team also concluded that there was probably interbreeding between Neanderthals and humans. Some archaeologists were however skeptical about this conclusion.
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