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Geneticist Svante Pääbo receives the $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize
Date:2/19/2013

and humans were distinctly different groups. Over the next decade, with the help of new gene-sequencing technology, Pbo led efforts to sequence Neandertal's nuclear DNA. In 2010, he and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute published the draft sequence of that genome, along with the startling finding that Neandertals have contributed up to 4 percent of the genetic material in modern humans. That same year, Pbo and his team reported a second remarkable finding: A DNA analysis of a finger bone found in 2008 in a Siberian cave showed that it had belonged to a previously unknown form of hominins. It was the first time an extinct hominin group had been identified by genetic analysis alone.

Pbo is also recognized as one of the world's leaders in human molecular evolution. He has, for example, played a critical role in defining the genetic relationship between humans and great ape populations. In addition, he has identified and studied the function of genes critically important in the evolution of the human species, such as FOXP2, which is associated with language development. In 2008, Pbo reported that Neandertals had an identical FOXP2 gene, which raised the tantalizing possibility that they may have had some language capabilities.

"Pbo's bold and exciting research has changed the way we understand human evolution and is providing insight into genes that are critical in the evolution of the human species," said Huda Zoghbi, chair of the Selection Advisory Board and the 2011 laureate of the Gruber Neuroscience Prize.


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Contact: A. Sarah Hreha
info@gruber.yale.edu
203-432-6231
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert

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