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Svante Pääbo

Princess of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 2018

At its meeting in Oviedo, the Jury for the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, made up of Arturo Álvarez-Buylla Roces, Juan Luis Arsuaga Ferreras, Juan Ignacio Cirac Sasturáin, Miguel Delibes de Castro, Cristina Garmendia Mendizábal, Álvaro Giménez Cañete, Clara Grima Ruiz, Marta Martínez Alonso, Amador Menéndez Velázquez, Sir Salvador Moncada, Ginés Morata Pérez, Enrique Moreno González, Teresa Rodrigo Anoro, Inés Rodríguez Hidalgo, María Vallet Regí, chaired by Pedro Miguel Echenique Landiríbar and with Santiago García Granda as acting secretary, has unanimously decided to grant the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific and Research to Swedish biologist Svante Pääbo for having developed precise methods to study ancient DNA that have permitted the recovery and analysis of the genome of species that disappeared hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Svante Pääbo has opened up a new field of research, palaeogenomics, which has allowed to better understand the recent evolution of numerous species, including humans. Of particular relevance in this respect is the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome and the finding that genes from these and other extinct humans form part of the genetic pool of Humanity. His discoveries force us to rewrite the history of our species.

Oviedo, 6th June 2018

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