A Swedish researcher Svante Pääbo received the Nobel Prize in Physiology (Medicine) for his research on the genomes of extinct hominins and the history of humanity.
By decoding the DNA of the extinct Neanderthal, a relative of modern humans, Svante Pääbo achieved the nearly unachievable and startling finding of the Denisova hominin.
An extinct ape species known as a hominin is thought to have ancestry with modern humans.
He created the field of paleogenomics, a brand-new branch of science that focuses on reassembling the genetic code and DNA of extinct hominins.
Pääbo also found that after the 70,000-year-old migration out of Africa, there was DNA transfer from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens.
When Pääbo retrieved DNA from bones from extinct hominins, including Neanderthal remains in Germany's Denisova caves, he demonstrated the connection between evolution and biology.
Modern Tibetans frequently carry the Denisovan variant of the EPAS1 gene, which gives a survival benefit at high altitudes.
The work appears to have been focused on human evolution and the role it has played in shaping our health and biological systems over time.
This could result in a one-of-a-kind resource that the scientific community can use to better understand human evolution and migration.
Svante Pääbo's groundbreaking discoveries will serve as the foundation for investigating what makes us uniquely human.
We now know that archaic gene sequences from our extinct ancestors influence the physiology of modern humans.
This ancient gene flow to modern humans has physiological implications, such as influencing how our immune system responds to infections.