Founder of paleogenomics Svante Pääbo to hold a public lecture "Archaic Genomics"

Professor Svante Pääbo, who was elected as the foreign member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences this year, is a world-class evolutionary and population geneticist.

His pioneering and interdisciplinary research started already in the 1980s while he was studying both medicine and the humanities at Uppsala University. He was among the first to extract DNA from archaeological material and develop specific laboratory protocols necessary for ancient DNA. Svante Pääbo's biography titled "Neanderthal man: In search of lost genomes" describes the development of the field of ancient DNA studies. It came out in 2014 and has also been translated to Estonian, among other languages.

Within the field of paleogenomics or in other words ancient DNA studies Professor Pääbo has laid a firm foundation for studying the genomes of the morphologically well-known Neanderthal and the previously uncharacterised Denisovan – relatives of modern humans that went extinct a long time ago. This has led to new understandings about the evolution of Homo sapiens as a species and, even more interestingly, about admixture with archaic humans. In less than 10 years, it has become generally accepted that there were several species of humans living on Earth that were capable of producing offspring with each other. A recent publication by Professor Pääbo described the direct first-generation descendant of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan who lived 50,000 years ago (Nature, 2018).

Svante Pääbo has received numerous international scientific awards and nominations. He is the honorary or foreign member of several academies of sciences. It is appropriate to add here that his mother was Estonian. A more detailed overview of Professor Pääbo's life and research can be found on Wikipedia.

In 2007, Time magazine elected Svante Pääbo as one of the hundred most influential people in the world.

This is not Professor Pääbo's first visit to Tartu – his research topics have been and are connected to the research conducted at our university. This entails joint articles but even more so a general influence on the rise and development of the field of studying ancient DNA and the so-called "lost genomes" in Tartu.

The lecture will take place on 5 December 2019 at 10:15 in Omicum, Riia 23, lecture hall 105.